Soft leaf Buffalo grass

The original variety of Buffalo was a rather course leaf lawn, it can also be slow growing.   It was used extensively as a lawn and many homes in subtropical, warm temperate and temperate areas still have the original Buffalo lawn.  However, newer varieties have become available on the market and they are a great improvement on the old Buffalo.

The new varieties have soft leaf and are quicker growing.   Some of the new varieties are – “Velvet Buffalo”, “Palmetto”, “Sir Walter” and “Shademaster”.   “Velvet buffalo” is very similar to “Sir Walter”, however it seems to have a slightly longer leaf.  “Palmetto” is an excellent lawn for areas closer to the coast, but has the drawback of developing slightly purple stems in winter.  “Sir Walter” is a shorter leaf variety and grows a nice soft leaf if fertilised regularly.

“Shademaster” is suited to cooler areas and does have a better shade tolerance when grown under trees.  All buffalo varieties will grow in subtropical, warm temperate, temperate and Mediterranean climates.  All buffalo lawns can be keep nice and green with regular fertilising at the rate of around 40 grams per square metre in spring, summer and autumn.

All Buffalo varieties will produce “thatch” to some extent (an excessive build-up of roots and runner at the surface).  The old variety of Buffalo was worst for this, the newer varieties develop less thatch.   Buffalo lawns runners grow primarily on the surface so removing thatch in Buffalo lawns can be tricky, so consult a lawn specialist or your local turf farm for more information on this.

Soft leaf Buffalo lawns can withstand moderate frosts and are generally drought tolerant, however they may lose some of their nice soft leaf under dry conditions.  The leaf tends to “harden-off” when less moisture is available.  As it grows predominately on the surface, buffalo lawns will adapt to a variety of soil conditions from clays through to sandy soils.  The best soil for buffalo however is a sandy loam.