Buffalo Grass: From Montana to Mexico


Buffalo grass is a grass that is native to the Great Plains from Montana down through Mexico. However, buffalo grass will rarely grow in sandy soils or places that have high rainfall, such as the eastern and southeaster areas of Texas. Buffalo grass served a great purpose in history. Not only did it feed the great buffalo herds which roamed throughout the Great Plains in the United States, but many early settlers would use the sod from buffalo grass to make their homes. Buffalo grass is still an important grass on the prairies. It provides deer and other animals with food and it provides shelter for the mountain plovers that make their nests in it.

Buffalo grass can grow to be about ten inches high and it is a warm season grass. The leaves of the buffalo grass curl and they have both staminate and pistillate flowers or male and female. Buffalo grass will turn lavender in the fall and tan in the winter. It will go dormant in extremely dry seasons and turn brown. However, it is cold and heat resistant.

You can establish buffalo grass in your lawn by either sowing seeds, planting plugs or laying sod. However, keep in mind that buffalo grass will not hold up in shady or high traffic areas. You should know that buffalo grass that is grown from seed will develop into patches of male and female plants and the males will produce seed stalks which may aggravate you. When individuals plant buffalo grass vegetatively, it is usually the female plants that are chosen since they do not produce the seed stalks.

It is important to note that if you are planting buffalo grass seed in the spring and summer, you should only use treated seed. Treated seed is seed that has been chilled to around 10 degrees for up to two months. This enables it to have a higher germination rate over seed that has not been treated. The early spring months of April and May are generally the best times to plant to plant buffalo grass seeds. If you plan to plant buffalo grass seed in the fall, do not expect it to be successful and germinate until the following spring.

You can also establish buffalo grass in your yard through sod or sod plugs. These should be planted on a seed bed that is well prepared. You should place your sod or sod plugs about fifteen inches apart. You can plant your sod pieces closer together – up to six inches apart if you need your ground covered faster. When ordering sod or plugs, be sure you install it immediately. If you do not, the plants will wither and die.

Whether you are growing your buffalo grass from seeds, plugs or sod, you should make sure to treat it delicately until it becomes established. Keep traffic to a minimum and make sure it receives the water it needs to establish its root system. Buffalo grass is a very attractive grass and a favorite of people who want to have a natural landscape.

Learn more here in our online guide to choosing lawn mowers and trimmers based on their performance and best features of the various models: How to Buy The Best Lawn Mower For Your Needs.

You can also learn here about lawn care for beginners to help you grow a beautiful grass lawn.

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