Buffalograss is the only native North American turf grass. Buffalograss prospered on the Great Plains for centuries before being discovered as a turfgrass. The evolution of Buffalograss has developed it into a turf that is one of the most heat, drought, and cold tolerant turfgrass species.
Buffalograss is a warm –season grass. It is usually dioecious - meaning that there are male and female flowers located on separate plants. Selecting a variety of Buffalograss depends on what plants (male or female) are desired. True female plants can only be reproduced by vegetative means, whereas seed can generate male and female plants. The male plants produce seed heads that rise above the plant canopy. Female plants have the seed near the crown of the plant in burr-like seed heads. So obtaining true female type seed is very difficult, and therefore can only be propagated by vegetative means.
The best time to seed or sod Buffalograss is in May or June. Sod plugs should be on six-inch centers and sod strips should be touching adjacent pieces. Water immediately, and lightly fertilize the newly planted area to encourage root and shoot growth. Mowing should begin when one-third of the plant tissue can be removed. Seeding Buffalograss at a rate of 1 to 2 pound (seed burs) per 1,000 square feet is recommended. Purchasing seed that has been treated will increase the percent of germinated seed. The seed should be shallowly incorporated into the soil to ensure good seed to soil contact. Varieties recommended for seeding in this area are Bison, Cody, Tatanka, Texoka, Topgun and Plains. Varieties recommended for sodding are Bonniebrae, Midget, Mobuff and Stampede. Seeded varieties will have both male and female flowers, while sodded varieties are predominantly female.Buffalograss
Picture by B. Fresenburg
Weed control is essential when establishing a Buffalograss lawn. Pre-emergent herbicides can adequately control the annual weeds, while post-emergent herbicides can handle any remaining broadleaf weeds. Winter annuals can be controlled by non-selective herbicides prior to spring green up.
Over fertilization and irrigation dramatically weaken the quality of Buffalograss by increasing weed competition and disease incidence. Buffalograss can provide a great low maintenance lawn.