How to Grow Buffalo Grass


Warm-season buffalo grass is more drought-tolerant than other lawn grasses, requiring less water and care during the heat of summer to remain green. It goes dormant in the fall when the nighttime temperatures begin to cool, and bursts back to life in spring once the weather warms. Native to the Great Plains region, it is less stressful on resources than other lawn types. Grow buffalo grass as a lawn grass by keeping it mowed and manicured. Buffalo grass is also suitable as a field or prairie grass that requires no upkeep.

Step 1

Remove any vegetation, branches and large rocks from the area to be planted. Remove existing grass with a turf cutter, if necessary.

Step 2

Begin soil preparation in spring after all danger of frost has passed. Use a power tiller to loosen the soil to an 18-inch depth.

Step 3

Till fertilizers into the top 4 inches of soil in the planting area. Add 2 lbs. bonemeal or phosphate and 1 cubic foot of compost for every 100 square feet you are planting. Work in a standard lawn starter fertilizer as recommended on the bag with the compost and bonemeal.

Step 4

Apply a 1-inch layer of straw mulch to the planting area. This retains moisture, inhibits weeds and keeps the soil from overheating.

Step 5

Dig planting holes for the plugs every 6 to 15 inches in a grid pattern. Dig holes deep enough for the plugs' root systems to sit in the soil completely. Set each buffalo grass plug in place and tamp it in lightly with your hand or foot.

Step 6

Water the area thoroughly until the top 2 inches of soil are damp. Water two to three times a day to maintain this moisture level. Reduce watering to twice a week after the first two weeks. Reduce watering to once a week after the plugs have been established for a month. In the second year, watering is only necessary during drought periods.

Step 7

Fertilize with a nitrogen-rich lawn fertilizer in autumn before the grass goes dormant.

Tips and Warnings

  • Weeds will choke out buffalo grass until it is established. Hand-weed the area as needed.

Things You'll Need

  • Turf cutter
  • Power tiller
  • Compost
  • Bonemeal
  • Fertilizer
  • Straw mulch
  • Plugs
  • Spade


  • University of Nebraska--Lincoln Extension: Establishing Buffalograss Turf in Nebraska
  • High Country Gardens: Planting a Buffalo Grass Lawn
Keywords: buffalo grass, drought-resistant lawns, native yard grasses

About this Author

Jenny Harrington has been a freelance writer since 2006. Her published articles have appeared in various print and online publications. Previously, she owned her own business, selling handmade items online, wholesale and at crafts fairs. Harrington's specialties include small business information, crafting, decorating and gardening.