Monday, June 6, 2011
For the gardener contemplating a buffalograss lawn, I've three important things to tell you right off. First, I love my buffalograss lawn and wouldn't trade it for the world. It doesn't need to be mowed as frequently as most other turfgrasses, and I rarely give it extra water except in the worst of Kansas summers. If you like the fine texture of bluegrass, then you'll be amazed at buffalograss. My children have always loved the feel of walking on it barefooted; soft and very dense. Yes, it fades in the fall to a nice buff brown color, but the color is very even-toned and pleasant, and your mowing ends with the first frost. I also love how it fills in bare spots; no over-seeding or spot-seeding necessary, just apply a little more water and fertilizer to the area and soon the buffalograss will fill in.
Secondly, if you're going to grow a buffalograss lawn with the intent of mowing less frequently, then I recommend that you should obtain the agreement of any spousal units beforehand. I probably wouldn't mow my buffalograss at all, except that She Who I Must Obey (Mrs. ProfessorRoush) doesn't like the seedheads which pop up about every two weeks; so of course I'm on a two-week mowing schedule. Still, that's twice a week for about 5-6 months, much less frequently than a cold-season grass would require.
Lastly, while a buffalograss lawn is LOW maintenance, it is not NO maintenance. To keep its best appearance, my lawn has taught me that it does like to have some fertilizer and a little help keeping the broad-leaf weeds and crabgrass out. It doesn't require watering often, but it can use a little water if the summer heat of July and August go on a little long while the rains stay away. And it responds enthusiastically if you burn it once in a while. But I learned my lessons well and a former turf grass expert once told me that I had the best stand of buffalograss he'd ever seen. I won't say that I actually crowed, but a peacock would not have out-strutted me at that point.
I'll discuss the species Buchloe dactyloides in Part II and provide some tips and some specifics on buffalograss care in Part III. In the meantime, visit the Stock Seed Farm site link above and view the propaganda there. I warn you, it will suck you right in, particularly if you read it on a sunny 95F day when you've just mowed your fescue for the third time this week.