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Buffalo Lawn Care
How to Install and Care for Your Buffalo Turf.
By Todd Layt
Before You Begin Your Buffalo Turf Installation, Read The Instructions Below Very Carefully... ^ to top
- Remove all building waste & weeds (only if needed).
- Spread a free draining soil to a depth of 7-15cm (roots can penetrate much deeper) or better still loosen ground and mix in appropriate soil conditioners. Some Gypsum may be needed as well if the soil is of a clay type. Phone a soil supplier for more advice on this option. For sandy soils, simply mix in organic material and rotary hoe. This will ensure far less water is required when the lawn is established.
- Level the surface using a screeding board, lawn leveller, rack or similar device.
- Apply a low analysis fertilizer with an N:P:K of approximately 5:6:5 or lawn starter fertilizer to the surface and incorporate with a rake. You can bypass this stage if you apply a slow release fertiliser after the lawn has rooted out.
- In hot months, moisten the soil but do not make the soil too wet that you can not walk on it. Do not lay the buffalo grass on hot, dry soil unless you lay a small area, hand water it then lay another area and repeat.
- Lay the buffalo grass as soon as possible after delivery.
- On hot days, lay a section of the buffalo grass and lightly water. Repeat until all turf is laid. On cool days, the buffalo grass can be laid all at once. Roll and water thoroughly within one hour of laying turf.
- Water thoroughly for 7-10 days so turf is kept moist, or until the buffalo lawn is established; take care that the water is saturating the soil beneath the turf. In colder months, the buffalo lawn will take longer to establish. The turf should not dry out until roots are established.
- When the soil has firmed and the Buffalo Grass has rooted down, usually 1 to 1/2 to 3 weeks after laying (longer during winter), mow lightly to tidy up your new buffalo lawn.
Watering Tips ^ to top
Newly installed buffalo grass has very important watering needs. Proper watering immediately after installation will ensure the buffalo lawn becomes established. It will also have an impact on how well the buffalo lawn continues to flourish for years to come. Begin watering new buffalo grass within a half hour after it is laid on the soil. Apply at least 2 to 3 cm (1 inch) of water so that the soil beneath the Buffalo lawn is very wet. Ideally the soil below the surface should be moist from 7 to 10 cm (3 to 4 inches).
Here are some more watering tips for new buffalo lawns:
- Pull back a corner of the Buffalo grass and push a screwdriver or another sharp tool into the soil (or your finger if the soil is soft). It should push in easily and have moisture along the first 7 to 10 cm (3 or 4 inches) or you need to apply more water.
- Make absolutely certain that water is getting to all areas of your new Buffalo lawn, regardless of the type of sprinkling system you use. Corners and edges are easily missed by many sprinklers (if windy) and are particularly vulnerable to drying out faster than the centre portion of your Buffalo lawn. Also, areas near buildings and paths dry out faster because of reflected heat and may require more water.
- Runoff may occur on some soils and sloped areas before the soil is adequately moist. To conserve water and ensure adequate soak in, turn off the water when runoff begins, wait 30 minutes to a few hours depending on the temperature and restart the watering on the same area. Repeat this start and stop process until correct soil moisture is achieved. For the next two weeks keep the below-turf soil surface moist with daily (or more frequent) watering. Especially hot, dry or windy periods will necessitate increased watering amounts and frequency.
- As the turf starts to establish its new roots into the soil, it will be difficult, impossible and/or harmful to pull back a corner to check beneath the turf, but you can still use a sharp tool to check moisture depth by pushing it through the buffalo grass and into the soil.
- Water as early in the morning as possible to take advantage of the daily start of the normal growing cycle of the grass, usually lower wind speeds and considerably less water loss because of high temperature evaporation.
- If the temperature approaches 37°C (100° F), or high winds are constant for more than half of the day, reduce the temperature of the Buffalo lawn surface by lightly sprinkling the area. This sprinkling does not replace the need for longer, deeper watering, which will become even more critical during adverse weather conditions.
After the Buffalo is established, infrequent and deep watering is preferred to frequent and shallow watering because the Buffalo grass roots will only grow as deeply as its most frequently available water supply. Deeply rooted grass has a larger “soil-water bank” to draw moisture from and this will help the grass survive drought and hot weather that rapidly dries out the upper soil layer. It may only take 14 days to establish well in summer, longer in winter, but it is advisable to allow the grass to live through its first summer before you really dry the soil out totally and make the roots chase the water really deep. One way to do this in the second year of the grass’ establishment is to let the turf start to slightly shrivel before you apply water. As soon as you see it wilt, then that is the best time to water heavily.
Maintenance Tips ^ to top
Mowing your Buffalo Lawn
- Mow every 5-10 days in the hot months; mow every 3-6 weeks in the cold months. Types like Sir Walter need higher mowing rates, and types like Palmetto® Buffalo need lower mowing rates.
- Mowing height will vary: 2-5cm in sunny/lightly shaded situations; 5-7cm in heavier shaded situations.
Watering your Buffalo Grass
- Water thoroughly and regularly after Buffalo grass has been laid to encourage a deep and vigorous root system (the Buffalo grass will be able to fossick for water and therefore be more able to withstand hot
- Once the root system has fully established, water thoroughly only when needed—when a slight wilting is visible, usually once every 7-21 days in summer depending on rain events (on sandy soils more often), with much less or no water in cooler months.
- Remember that infrequent, deep watering promotes a healthy lawn.
- Over watering encourages excessive growth, disease and root rot.
- It is best to water in the early morning; night watering is not recommended.
Fertilising your Buffalo Grass
- Buffalo grass needs to be fed to remain strong and healthy.
- Use a complete slow release fertiliser in early April and any lawn type in early September. Twice per year is usually enough, except in sandy soils at least 4 fertiliser applications per year are needed.
- At other times of the year use a slow release fertiliser if the turf needs more growth; eg. worn areas, pest problems etc. If you need a quick green up, use a fertiliser high in nitrogen to promote a lush green lawn—e.g. supergreen or organic based slow release fertilisers. In heat of summer avoid over fertilising or using manure based products.
Pests, Weeds and Diseases
Buffalo grass is more resistant to pests, weeds and fungi compared to some other turf varieties, but as with any natural product, problems can occur. If these problems occur we recommend the following:
- Pests—watch for the lawn grub (e.g. Web Worm or Army Worm) and African Black Beetle. Apply suitable pesticides according to directions.
- Weeds—if weeds infest, hand eradicate before seed head develops or apply a suitable weedicide (ask your local garden centre). Be particularly careful using herbicides on the ST varieties as they have more problems with sprays compared to the other types. NB: sprays containing DICAMBA must not be applied to soft leaf Buffalo grass...!!!!!!!