Buffalo Grass

Buffalo Grass, a Low Maintenance Variety

Buffalo grass (Buchloe dactyloides), a native to North America, is a warm-season grass highly-regarded for its low-cost care and exceptional drought resistant qualities.

It is a stunning green turf and grows nicely in sunny and shaded areas. It can grow well in both shady and sunny spots. This type of grass is also tolerant of drought conditions, making it ideal for hot summers with little rain. Those who prefer to be more hands-off about their lawn may choose buffalo grass due to its robust nature and density, meaning weeds can often struggle to take hold. Different varieties of the grass are available in the market, allowing you to select one that will help your lawn achieve your goals. If you’re considering planting buffalo grass from seed, here are some key points to keep in mind:


Characteristics of Buffalo Grass Seed:


  1. Warm-Season Grass:  Its a warm-season turfgrass, meaning it thrives in warm temperatures and goes dormant during the colder months.
  2. Drought Tolerance: One of the main advantages is the ability to be exceptionally drought tolerance. It has deep roots that can reach water sources in the soil, making it resilient in dry conditions.
  3. Low Maintenance: Buffalo grass is often chosen for its low maintenance requirements. It grows slowly, which lessens the requirement for frequent mowing. Additionally, it tends to resist pests and diseases.
  4. Adaptability: To different soils, including clay and sandy soils. It is also tolerant of a wide pH range.
  5. Establishment from Seed: Seeding is typically done in late springtime to early summertime when soil temperatures stay regularly warm. Buffalo grass can be established from seed, making it an economical option for those looking to form a new lawn.


How to grow

Buffalo grass necessitates meticulous nurturing from seed, incorporating some crucial phases that guarantee optimal development and care. Here’s a thorough guide:


Growing Buffalo Grass from Seed:
  1. Timing:

Plant the seeds in late spring to early summer when soil temperatures consistently reach 60°F (15°C) or higher.

  1. Soil Preparation:

Prepare the soil by clearing debris, rocks, and weeds. Loosen the soil to about 2-4 inches deep to create a good seedbed.

  1. Seeding:

Broadcast the seed evenly over the prepared soil. Consider dividing the seed into two lots and broadcasting in opposite directions for better coverage.

The recommended seeding rate is usually around 2-3 pounds of seed per 1,000 square feet.

  1. Raking and Pressing:

Gently rake the ground to cover the seeds with a thin layer of soil.

Press the soil gently with a roller or walk over the area to guarantee optimal seed-to-soil contact.

  1. Watering:

Keep the sown area constantly moist until the grass is established. Watering may be required daily or as needed to prevent the soil from drying out. Once the grass is established, gradually reduce the frequency of watering.

  1. Germination and Growth:
  • The seed typically germinates in 14-21 days. Be patient, as buffalo grass has a slow establishment rate compared to other grass types.
  • As the grass grows, it will become more drought-tolerant.
  1. Mowing:
  • When the grass is between four and six inches tall, start cutting it.
  • Mow 2-3 inches for an attractive and healthy buffalo grass lawn.
  1. Fertilization:
  • The grass is not a heavy feeder. Apply a small amount of fertilizer in late spring or early summer to encourage healthy development.


Tips for Success:

Choose the Right Variety:

Select a variety of buffalo grass well-suited to your climate and soil conditions.


Monitor Watering:

Pay close attention to watering during the establishment phase. Buffalo grass is drought-tolerant, but adequate moisture is essential during the early stages of growth.



Have patience, as it grows slowly and takes time to establish. Be patient and allow time for the grass to establish itself.


Caring for Buffalo Grass:


  1. Mowing:
  • When the grass is between four and six inches tall, start cutting it.
  • Mow two to three inches to encourage a healthy and attractive lawn.


  1. Fertilization:
  • Buffalo grass is not a heavy feeder. Apply a light fertilizer in late spring or early summer to promote healthy growth.


3. Weed Control:

  • During the establishment phase, monitor for weeds and apply appropriate control measures. Once the buffalo grass is established, it will naturally suppress many weeds.


  1. Watering:
  • Although drought-tolerant, the grass prefers steady rainfall, particularly in hot and dry weather. Deep, infrequent watering is generally recommended.


  1. Aeration:
  • Periodic aeration can help maintain a healthy lawn by improving soil aeration and reducing thatch.
  1. Aeration:

Over-seeding (Optional):

  • If needed, over-seed in the spring to fill any bare spots or thin areas.


Pest and Disease Management:

  • Buffalo grass is generally resistant to pests and diseases. However, monitor the lawn regularly and address any issues promptly.


Winter Care:

  • The grass goes dormant in winter, turning brown. Some homeowners may choose to over-seed with a cool-season grass if they prefer green grass throughout the winter.


Additional Tips:

  •       Choose the Right Variety: That suits your climate and preferences.
  •       Patience: Having a slow growth rate, especially during the establishment phase, be patient and allow time for the grass to fill in.
  •       Regular Maintenance:Regularly check for issues and perform routine maintenance tasks to keep your lawn healthy.
Best time to sow buffalo seed

This is during late spring to early summer when soil temperatures are consistently warm. Warm-season grasses like buffalo grass grow best in temperatures between 15°C and 27°C (60°F and 80°F).

Sowing buffalo grass seed during this period takes advantage of the warmer soil, promoting successful germination and establishment.


Here are some key points to consider:


Soil Temperature:

Wait until soil temperatures consistently reach at least 60°F (15°C) before sowing buffalo grass seed. This typically occurs in late spring as temperatures warm up.


Frost-Free Period:

Choose a time when the danger of frost has passed, as they are sensitive to cold temperatures, and frost which negatively impact germination and establishment.


Consistent Warm Weather:

Optimal growth occurs when temperatures are consistently warm. Sowing during late spring to early summer provides the right conditions for buffalo grass to establish and grow.


Rainfall and Irrigation:

Ensure that there is adequate moisture for seed germination and establishment. If your region experiences a dry spell, you may need to supplement with irrigation.


Daylight Hours:

Longer daylight hours during late spring and early summer provide more sunlight for the growing grass, supporting healthy photosynthesis and growth.


When looking for buffalo grass seed, consider factors such as the specific variety suited for your region, the purity and germination rate of the seed, and any additional features offered by the seed, such as disease resistance or improved drought tolerance. Prices may be listed per pound or per square foot, so be sure to research on prices based on the quantity you require and the coverage area.

You can check with agricultural supply stores, online seed retailers, or local garden centers for pricing information. Additionally, customer reviews and recommendations can provide insights into the performance of specific buffalo grass seed varieties and brands.


Given prices may vary regionally, it’s advisable to explore multiple sources to find the best value for your specific requirements. Always consider the quality of the seed and its suitability for your climate and soil conditions when purchasing.


Buffalo grass seed varieties

There are several varieties of buffalo grass (Buchloe dactyloides) available, each with its own set of characteristics and advantages. The choice of variety often depends on factors such as climate, soil conditions, and the specific requirements of the lawn or landscape. Here are some common varieties of buffalo grass:


  • Bison:

Bison is a popular variety known for its fine texture and soft feel. It is drought-tolerant and requires minimal maintenance. Bison buffalo grass is often used for lawns, parks, and other low-traffic areas.


  • Cody:
  • Cody buffalo grass is a variety that is well-adapted to various soil types and is known for its rapid establishment. It has good heat tolerance and drought resistance.


  • Density:
  • Density buffalo grass is recognized for its dense growth habit, creating a thick, lush lawn. It has good drought tolerance and can thrive in full sun.


  • Prairie:
  • Prairie buffalo grass is a native variety well-suited to the Great Plains region. It has a fine texture and provides good cover for erosion control.


  • 609:
  •   609 buffalo grass is a variety valued for its cold tolerance. It can be found in warm and cool-season grass regions, making it versatile.


  • Legacy:
  • Legacy is a variety of buffalo grass known for its improved cold tolerance. It maintains a green color for a more extended period in the fall compared to other varieties.


  • Topgun:
  • Topgun buffalo grass sprouts and establishes quickly. It is a warm-season grass that tolerates wear and drought well.


  • UC Verde:
  • UC Verde buffalo grass is a variety developed by the University of California. It is known for its low water requirements and texture.


  • Palmetto:
  • Palmetto buffalo grass is a variety that has gained popularity for its shade tolerance compared to other warm-season grasses. It is often used in areas with partial shade.


  • Sundancer:
  • Sundancer buffalo grass is a newer variety with a fine texture and improved cold tolerance. It is known for its quick establishment and low water requirements.


Where to get buffalo grass seed

You can purchase the seeds from various sources, including local nurseries, garden centers, online retailers, and agricultural supply stores. Here are some places where you can find buffalo grass seed:

  • Local Nurseries and Garden Centers:
  • Visit your neighborhood nurseries or garden centers, as they usually have these variety of grass. The personnel at these points can advise on the best ones for your region and offer guidance on planting and care.


  • Online Retailers:
  • Many online retailers specialize in selling grass seeds, and you can find a variety of buffalo grass seeds on their websites. Make sure to read product descriptions and user reviews to ensure you have chosen the correct variety for your needs.


  • Agricultural Supply Stores:
  • Stores that cater to farmers and agricultural needs may carry buffalo grass seed. Check with local agriculture supply stores or co-ops to see if they have the specific variety you need.


  • Landscaping and Turf Suppliers:
  • Suppliers that cater to landscaping and turf professionals may have buffalo grass seed available. These suppliers often carry high-quality seed varieties used by professionals in the industry.


  • Home Improvement Stores:
  • Some larger home improvement stores or chain stores with gardening sections may stock buffalo grass seed. Check the lawn and garden department for seed options.


  • Specialty Seed Companies:
  • Some companies specialize in providing a wide range of grass seeds, including buffalo grass. Look for specialty seed companies that focus on turf and lawn care.


  • Local Extension Offices:
  • Contact your local agricultural extension office or cooperative extension service. They may provide information on where to purchase buffalo grass seed locally and offer guidance on growing it in your specific region.


Advantages and disadvantages of buffalo grass seed

Drought Tolerance:

It is an excellent option for areas with low water availability because of its extraordinary drought tolerance.


Low Maintenance:

It has a slow growth rate, reducing the need for frequent mowing. It is generally resilient to insects and illnesses, contributing to its low-maintenance nature.



This grass species is well-adapted to various soil types, including clay and sandy soils. It is able to function in a broad pH range.


Economical Establishment:

Growing this variety of grass from seed is a cost-effective method for establishing a lawn compared to sod or plugs.


Native and Ecological Benefits:

Utilizing buffalo grass, an indigenous grass of North America, can support ecological sustainability. It supports local ecosystems and wildlife.


Soft Texture:

They tend to have fine texture and soft feel, providing a comfortable surface for recreational activities.


Disadvantages of Buffalo Grass Seed:

Slow Establishment:

    •  They have a slow establishment rate compared to some other grass types. Patience, is required during the initial phases of growth.


Limited Shade Tolerance:

    • Buffalo grass prefers full sun and has limited tolerance for shade. It may struggle to thrive in areas with significant tree cover or buildings that block sunlight.


Less Traffic Tolerance:

  • While buffalo grass is durable, it may not withstand heavy traffic as other grass species. High-traffic areas may require additional care.


Winter Dormancy:

  • They go dormant in winter, turning brown. Some homeowners may find this aspect less appealing, especially in climates where green grass is desired year-round.


Weed Competition During Establishment:

  • During the establishment phase, buffalo grass may face competition from weeds. Proper weed control measures are essential to ensure successful establishment.


Limited Cold Tolerance:

  • Buffalo grass is more sensitive to cold temperatures compared to cool-season grasses. It may not be the best choice for regions with harsh winters.


Varied Varietal Characteristics:

  • Different buffalo grasses may exhibit slightly different characteristics, such as color and growth habit. Choosing the correct variety is crucial for meeting specific preferences and requirements.



Their seeds offer numerous advantages, especially in terms of water conservation, low maintenance, and adaptability to various soil types. However, it comes with considerations such as slow establishment, limited shade tolerance, and potential winter dormancy. The pros and cons enable homeowners make decisions whether these grass is the right choice for their lawns.


Remember that specific timing may vary depending on your location and climate zone. Check local weather patterns and soil temperatures to determine the best time for sowing the grass seed in your area. Additionally, be patient during the germination and establishment phases, as they have a slower growth rate compared to other grass types.


When selecting a this grass variety, consider factors such as climate, soil type, maintenance preferences, and the specific use of the grass (e.g., residential lawns, parks, sports fields). Contacting nearby nurseries, extension entities, or landscaping experts can provide valuable insights into the best buffalo grass variety for your unique requirements and circumstances.


Consider the best variety for your climate, soil conditions and lawn preferences before buying the grass seed from a reliable supplier of high-quality seed with high germination rates. Reading user reviews and consulting with local experts can help you make an informed decision.

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