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Planting a Buffalograss Lawn

Is a buffalograss lawn for you?  Here are some pros and cons.

Pros

  • Good drought tolerance

  • Stands up to wear well

  • Requires little mowing

  • Low nutritional needs

  • Aggressive runners to establish well over area

  • Will go dormant during droughts, likely surviving

Cons
  • Turns brown with fall's first frost

  • Can require edging along walks, driveways and beds, since it has aggressive runners

  • Poor shade tolerance; though new varieties are fairly shade tolerant

  • Variability in turf makes it less comfortable to walk barefoot, play and sit on buffalograss

The best time to start your buffalograss lawn in eastern Colorado is May or June.

The two most important factors for success of your buffalograss lawn are weed control and packing the seedbed after seeding.

Remove your existing turf.  You can do this with two sequential applications of Roundup.  Make sure the growth is healthy and the soil temperature reaches 45F.  These applications should be about 14 days apart.


Prepare for reseeding.
  Remove as much of the residue and thatch as possible.  First, mow short and remove clippings.  Power rake, covering the area two or three times in different directions to loosen the thatch.  Remove all of the dead roots and thatch from the seed bed.

Apply a starter fertilizer according to package directions.  This is important if the site is disturbed or where organic material has been removed.


Roll
to make the seed bed firm if it is not.

Seed by broadcasting or drilling. 
Broadcast by hand or distribute with a seeder or lawn fertilizer spreader.  Then rake or harrow as you would bluegrass.  Pack the seedbed and cover with a light mulch after planting.

Drilling gives better results than broadcasting.

Seeds should start to emerge 6-10 days after planting.

Individual plant

Water.  Keep the area moist with frequent watering.  As the buffalograss emerges and establishes, gradually reduce the frequency of watering and increase the amount of water applied each time.  As the buffalograss begins to spread, water as needed for continued growth.


Mow.
  Low mowing in the first year promotes better lateral growth.  After that, a couple of mowings a year may be sufficient.