Buffalo grass is a perennial turf grass that produces soft, blue-green curly blades and spreads easily through rhizome growth. The grass is a warm-season variety that can be planted either by seed or grass plugs in the spring or fall season. Buffalo grass is suited for lawns, but will go dormant during periods of drought and in the winter months.
Select a planting location for buffalo grass that offers a well-draining soil and full sunlight conditions. The grass grows well in a loam type soil and does not tolerate sand. Test the soil pH as the grass prefers a soil with a pH of 6.0 to 8.5. Amend the soil by adding limestone to increase the pH number or ground rock sulfur to lower the pH number. Let the soil rest two weeks before planting. Prepare the planting area by removing all vegetative growth and smoothing the soil surface.
Treat buffalo grass seed burrs before planting to break the dormant period by stratifying moistened seed in a cold environment of 40 degrees F for six to eight weeks. Sow buffalo grass seeds by using a broadcast spreader set at a rate of 1 to 3 pounds of seeds for each 1,000 square feet of ground. Gently rake the seeds into the soil, roll the area with a lawn roller filled with water for weight and lightly water the soil to set the seeds for germination. Lightly mulch the area with chopped straw and continue to water daily until the seedlings emerge. Areas seeded in the fall season will germinate and grow the next spring.
Plant buffalo grass plugs into prepared soil at a depth of 2 1/2 inches. The plugs should be at least 2 inches in diameter and pre-rooted to increase the establishment of the turf grass. Set the plugs 6 to 24 inches apart, depending on the amount of plugs available and the speed of growth needed. Apply a 10-10-10 fertilizer to the area after planting and water well. Continue to apply water for the first two to three weeks after planting to keep the soil moist for root development. Do not over-water or allow standing water as this will kill the grass plugs.
Care and Maintenance
Buffalo grass is a low-maintenance grass variety that is drought-resistant. Water the grass weekly to prevent drought stress and early dormancy in the summer when the rainfall amount is less than 1 inch per week. Apply a 3-1-2 fertilizer to established grass areas in June and again in early August. Mow buffalo grass once a week to a height of 2 to 3 inches for lawns or a height of 3 to 4 inches in areas where the grass is left to grow without maintenance. Never remove more than one-third of grass growth in one mowing. Apply a pre-emergence herbicide in spring to control annual weed growth.
Propagate buffalo grass by purchasing seed to germinate. Seed can be collected from grass that is left to grow naturally, but it is a time-consuming process. Cold-stratify the seed for six to eight weeks and plant in spring for best results.