Warm season turf grasses such as buffalo grass have the merit of active growth during the hot months of between December and February. Unlike the cool season grasses, buffalo grass shows more resistance to drought stress due its smaller leaf surface area and intensive, deep root system. Due to its unique nature, routine maintenance for this type of grass is different from the cool season grasses. Below is a guide to buffalo grass maintenance.
For buffalo grass to keep looking at its best, it will need a good quality and year-round fertilization program. In the absence of this fertilizing, the grass can lose its health, vitality and color. A homeowner should fertile the grass every two months using a high quality lawn fertilizer at application rates recommended by the manufacturer. However, care should be taken not to apply excess fertilizer than recommended since it is likely to damage the lawn. When buying the fertilizer, one should ensure that it includes trace elements. Purchasing specific buffalo lawn fertilizers is not necessary as they are usually expensive and provides no additional benefit to the grass.
Regular mowing is important for the health and vitality of buffalo grass. This prevents the grass from developing excessive thatch, while reducing the risk of scalping that will damage it. In addition, it will deter buffalo runners from spreading into surrounding gardens, and also encourage greener leaf growth. In the case of some of the faster-growing types of buffalo grass such as Sir Walter, mowing may have to be done weekly, especially during the year's active growing season. For desirable results, it is recommended that the grass be cut at heights of between 35mm and 65mm.
Buffalo grass should be watered on a daily basis, but only in the mornings. For one, this will provide the grass with water in the soil throughout the day when it is growing most actively and the weather is warmest. If the lawn is watered at night, most of the water will drain away through the soil before the grass can utilize it, thus wasting the water. In addition, when water is left soaking on the grass overnight, it will increase the chances of fungal diseases.
Application of wetting agents is another of the essential buffalo grass care routines that a homeowner should do once or twice per year. These wetting agents act on the soil, allowing more water to flow freely. In addition, they disperse more evenly, holding onto water in the soil for longer in cases of hydrophobic soils. It is advisable to apply the wetting agents before the start of summer and after it ends.
Buffalo grass can be vulnerable to diseases like Brown Patch. Most of such diseases usually lead to circular brown patches on the lawn. A recommended way of controlling such diseases involves aerating the grass and cutting it higher. In addition, fertilization should be halted in case of an outbreak. Lawn and garden fungicides can be used, although their effectiveness is not guaranteed. The grass conditions that resulted in the disease outbreak have to be permanently addressed in order to prevent another outbreak.
River Mifsud is a subject matter expert on of growing grass. Read more at http://returf.com.au/buffalo-grass/ for more information about buffalo grass.