Buffalo vs Matilda
We have been looking at how different buffalo grasses compare. In this round, Sir Walter and Matilda go head to head and we explore some of the things to consider when choosing a buffalo turf for your lawn. In this article we compare the two soft leaf buffalo grass in the following categories:
- least amount of thatch
- shade tolerance
- sun tolerance
- drought recovery
- wear and tear tolerance
- winter colour
- least seeding buffalo
So let’s find how how our two contenders fare in this battle between Sir Walter vs Matilda.
Winner: Sir Walter
Least Amount of Thatch
Thatch can be a problem when it comes to your lawn, so what is thatch? The PennState Center for Turfgrass Science explains:
THATCH IS A LOOSE, INTERMINGLED ORGANIC LAYER OF DEAD AND LIVING SHOOTS, STEMS, AND ROOTS THAT DEVELOPS BETWEEN THE ZONE OF GREEN VEGETATION AND THE SOIL SURFACE. THATCH BUILD UP BEGINS WHEN TURF PRODUCES ORGANIC DEBRIS FASTER THAN IT CAN BE BROKEN DOWN.
While a thin layer of thatch can provide insulation against extreme temperatures and fluctuations in soil moisture, thicker layers of thatch can heat up and dry out a lawn very quickly.
Sir Walter is a low thatch type of Buffalo grass. Matilda, on the other hand deteriorates when it gets spongy and can become patchy over time if exposed to too much sun.
It is important to consider where you will lay your turf and what kind of conditions it will be subjected to. Will it have to deal with full shade, partial shade, or full shade? And if so, which turf will be best suited for this location?
So how well will our turf contenders tolerate shade?
There is not a lot of difference between the ability of our buffalo grasses to tolerate shade. Traditionally buffalo grasses have a high shade tolerance. However when it comes to shade tolerance, Matilda does slightly better than Sir Walter and might be the best choice if your lawn will experience a lot of shade.
All plants need sunlight to grow, and grass is no exception — but too much sun can lead to your lawn drying out and potentially dying. If your site is going to receive a lot of sunlight it is important to consider the turf product with the greater sun tolerance. Australia is a sunburnt country; so how will our turf contenders deal with the sun?
Winner: It’s a tie! Both Sir Walter and Matilda can tolerate the same amount of sun.
In the same way that we need to consider sun and shade, if you are an area that is prone to drought you need a lawn that can not only tolerate lower water conditions but can bounce back when the rains return or you choose to irrigate.
DROUGHT RECOVERY IS A PARTICULARLY IMPORTANT CONSIDERATION FOR AUSTRALIAN LAWNS
In tests Matilda recovered from drought conditions more quickly than Sir Walter.
Wear & Tear Tolerance
Can our turf contenders deal with wear and tear of foot traffic, kids, sports and pets? Matilda is hands down the winner when it comes to recovering from heavy wear and tear, not only beating Sir Walter but a number of other buffalo grasses too.
If you’ve taken the time to lay quality turf and maintained it, the last thing you want is to lose that luscious green colour in the cooler months. How well will our lawn contenders keep their green colour in winter?
This is one of the key differences between Sir Walter and Matilda and will come down to the position of your lawn. Matilda keeps its winter colour better in full sun, while Sir Walter holds its own in partial shade.
Winner in full sun: Matilda
Least Seeding Buffalo
Which of our two turfs will produce the least amount of seed?
Winner: Sir Walter
Think Matilda for a buffalo that holds its winter colour in full sun and can take a lot of wear and tear. Think Sir Walter when you are after a low seeding buffalo grass that will keep its winter colour in partial shade and has a low amount of thatch.
Winner: It’s a tie!