Where the Buffalo roam


Recently we wrote about Warm Season Grasses, using 30% less water than traditional Cool Season grasses. Using a more efficient photosynthesis process these grasses are green in temperate summers and require much less water to survive the drier months. One of the popular varieties is Buffalo Grass. There is wealth of web information about this, try The Lawn Guide and when it comes to watering your lawn check our sprinkler advice.

In support (and we have no financial interest) of those great ‘Sir Walter’  TV advertisements we really enjoyed our Sir Walter lawn in Melbourne. It arrived in great green rolls of turf that we rolled out on pre-prepared drip irrigation and bare top soil. Warm season grasses have a running habit which means they will grow from runners and colonise bare patches. We fed the drip irrigation from the spa bath and it worked royally through the hot summers. The lawn was like a big bouncy green carpet for picnics and volleyball.

Features of Buffalo Grass

  • Species Stenotaphrum secundatum
  • Shade Tolerance – from full sun up to 70% shade
  • Soft leaf buffalo varieties include Sir Walter, Palmetto and Sapphire
  • Some suppliers claim Sapphire is even more shade tolerant and Palmetto might be better value than Sir Walter
  • Greywater tolerant, actually they enjoy the phosphates from bath and washing machine water

Limitations of Buffalo Grass

  • Prone to thatching and will need to be thinned from time to time
  • Will turn yellow in temperate zone cool seasons
  • Has a fairly coarse, although soft, leaf
  • Needs lots of water for establishment
  • Will struggle with a lot of traffic

My favourite piece of information about the Buffalo grass is in the name. The grass allegedly arrived from the northern hemisphere in the 1840s in a ship called the ‘SS Buffalo’  and the name stuck.

Have you planted Buffalo? What are your experiences with it?