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Buffalo Lawn Care
Growing That Perfect Buffalo Lawn
By Todd Layt
It all starts with the preparation. Get that right and you will probably achieve that perfect lawn. The best way to prepare the ground is enhance the existing soil. After killing existing grass and weeds with Glyphosate, rotary hoe the ground. Spread organics over the top and rotary hoe it well into the soil. 3 cubic metres per 100 square metres of area will give good results. If you have a clay type soil mix Gypsum into the soil first. If it is a sandy type the organics will be all you probably need.
If this seems too much work, you can hire in a skid steer machine to first loosen the existing soil then spread an organic soil mix over the top at 75mm thick.
After the preparation is done and the soil has settled a little, it is a good idea to take a PH reading. Accurate low cost kits can be bought online. Inoculo Soil pH Test Kit. If the reading is between 6 and 7 or close, there is nothing more to do. If it is around 8, you will need to add some Iron Sulphate, and if it is around 5 you will need to add some lime.
Once the ground is prepared it is time to order the lawn.
Buffalo turf grass is a great choice as it helps out compete weeds, requires less mowing, and best of all it works in full sun up to 70% shade, which is 3 to 4 hours of sun per day on average.
There are only 3 good types of Buffalo that do not have thatch problems, namely Palmetto® (Top Photo), Sapphire® (above) and Sir Walter. Other types generally thatch a lot, which will require specialised lawn maintenance in the future. If you want less mowing and edging choose Palmetto. If you have more shade Sapphire in independent tests was the best. All three of these types will give you a good lawn.
Lay the turf around the edge of paths first, then fill in laying in one direction. If possible roll the lawn after laying. If you are going to apply a starter fertiliser, use a slow release fertiliser, and apply it prior to laying the turf, and mix it into the soil with a rake. Otherwise wait 3 to 4 weeks after laying the lawn and spread a slow release fertiliser over the top. Don’t let the turf dry out for the first few weeks.
The first week is really critical, and on hot days that may mean watering 3 times per day for shorter durations. If you are laying Buffalo in late autumn or winter in cooler states like Victoria, it is worth lightly top dressing the turf first. This protects the turf from the cold and stops it drying out until it roots out later in the season. Preferable use an organic sandy loam mix, and rake it in so some of the leaves are still showing. If you are worried about keeping the water up in the first few weeks in summer after establishment, it may also be worth top dressing. The next spring after establishment it is also a good idea to top-dress. This will help level out any undulations, and will really make the lawn healthy.
The minimum amount of fertiliser to use each year is as follows; Fertilise in early autumn, then in early winter, and again in early to mid-spring. If you lawn gets lots of wear an extra fertiliser can be added in summer. Use only slow release fertiliser. Although standard fertiliser is cheaper, it is actually more expensive really. Slow release lasts months, while standard fertiliser lasts days after being watered in. Results show slow release fertiliser to be much better value. Once the Buffalo turf grass is well established, water with long deep irrigation. Once per week heavy watering is usually enough. In shade mow the lawn longer.
Weeds and pests can be a problem with Buffalo lawns at times, but keeping a healthy low thatch lawn really helps. So either top dress once per year in spring, or scalp the lawn back hard each spring and fertilise well.
This will rejuvenate the grass, making it healthier, and less susceptible to problems. If you get broad leaf weeds use Yates Buffalo PRO Weed Killer Concentrate. If you have lawn grub problems use Yates Complete Lawn Insect Control.