Warm season grasses for homeowners living in southern America
Buffalo grass, Buchloe dactyloides, is a perennial grass native to the Great Plains and found from Montana all the way to Mexico. It is one of the grasses that supported the great buffalo herds that roamed the Great Plains. Buffalo grass also provided the sod from which early settlers built their houses.
Buffalo grass is, perhaps, our only truly native turfgrass. Its tolerance to prolonged droughts and extreme temperatures, together with its seed producing characteristics enables Buffalo grass to survive extreme environmental conditions. Overgrazing and, in the case of turf, over use or excessive traffic are the pressures that lead to deterioration of Buffalo grass.
Buffalo grass spreads by surface runners, or stolons, and seed. It forms a fine textured, relatively thin turf with a soft blue-green color. It does not possess underground stems, or rhizomes. Buffalo grass is also destroyed quite readily by cultivation. For these reasons, it can be readily removed from flower beds and gardens.
Buffalo grass is not adapted to shaded sites or locations that receive heavy traffic. Also, under intensive management bermudagrass and other more aggressive grasses tend to replace Buffalo grass in the lawn.
Roadsides, school grounds, parks, open lawn areas, golf course roughs and cemeteries are good sites for Buffalograss. It is the ideal grass for those wanting a "native-like" landscape.
Buffalo grass can be established from pieces of sod or sod plugs not less than 2" square. These should be planted on a well prepared seedbed in about 18" rows. Plants can be spaced anywhere from 6" — 2' apart, depending on how quickly a complete cover is desired. The closer they are spaced, the sooner the ground will be covered.
In digging up material for planting care should be taken to keep the roots moist, or the plants will die very quickly. Dig a hole just deep enough to set the plants in so that the grass is above ground level and do not cover with soil or it will die. The soil should be packed around the plants. Planting is best done in moist soil or where irrigation is available until established. Early fall, spring or early summer when moisture is most favorable. Plants should be well watered after planting and as needed for several weeks, thereafter.
Planting: seed, sod, sprigging, or plugging
Mowing height: 2" — 3"