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Buffalo Lawn Care
Instant Turf Buffalo Lawn
By Todd Layt
Buffalo Turf is only sold in instant turf, not seed. Why?
Buffalo turf grass is very slow to germinate, with extremely poor germination. In breeding vegetative buffalo grass it takes many hundreds of seeds to get just a hand full of plants, and we need to put them in hothouses to germinate for months.
However buffalo grass grows really well from runners, and this is its more natural method of multiplying. If you cannot afford a complete instant turf lawn, then at a pinch you can buy turf and break it into pieces and plant it as your lawn allowing it to spread, however this is still a rigorous task, as you need to keep weeds out of the lawn till it establishes, which can take from 7 to 12 months.
Don’t do this unless you use a pre-emergent eg; Oxa Pro (Online Purchase) when planting, or you don’t mind lots of hand weeding. The best time to try this is spring. Alternatively you could use Viro-cell lawn (Online Purchase) which are pre-grown plugs and will establish faster than runners. Make sure you use slow release fertiliser every few months to encourage it to cover the ground.
In the USA there is a native Buffalo which is a different species called Buchloe dactyloides which is not really suitable in Australia as a lawn, and goes brown really quickly in autumn. Some unscrupulous people have in the past sold seed of this as Buffalo seed in Australia, and unsuspecting people have bought this thinking they are getting Australian Buffalo or Stenotaphrum secundatum. You cannot buy seed of Australian Buffalo grass.
The good news is that instant buffalo turf is low cost compared to installing a garden, pavers, or other ground surfaces (see table below for cost comparisons). It will cost you far more in time to try to grow your own. Instant turf grass provides immediate satisfaction. There is far less work involved, less chance of weed invasion, less water to establish, and immediate protection of the soil with great erosion control prevention.
There is nothing worse than waiting for many months for seed to grow and fill in, and having to put up with a muddy mess, dirty carpets and floors from trampled dirt, and an ugly eye saw of a lawn. Worse the failure rate for do it yourself seeded lawns is very high. It is just not worth the risk when you look at the good price for instant turf.
Roll out lawn is grown from vegetative better varieties. They seed less, reducing allergies and invasion from seed into your garden, generally have much better winter colour, and are far more drought tolerant. Basically using instant turf is like planting live plants compared to direct sowing perennials in your garden. Very few people direct sow a Lomandra, or a hedging plant, because it is so much easier to buy a plant in a pot, and the seeding alternative rarely if ever works.
Generally seeded grasses sold are cool season grasses as they are the quick ones to germinate. These are really only suitable for Tasmania. Even in Melbourne when drought and hot summers hit, these cool season grasses often die and need replacing. Water restrictions basically mean you need to replace your lawn with a good drought tolerant Buffalo. In Sydney, Perth, Brisbane and Adelaide, it is only the warm season turf types like Buffalo that do well.
Kikuyu seed is also now being sold, but this has lots of problems compared to Buffalo. Seeded Kikuyu reproduces huge numbers of seeds, which flow with water into your garden, or are dropped by insects or birds causing a nightmare for your plants. In spring and autumn you get white fluffy male flowers that looks terribly unsightly.
If you must use a Kikuyu at least use a male sterile type that also comes in instant turf. Although unless you have a big dog in a sunny backyard, Buffalo is always a better choice as it copes with shade, needs far less mowing, out competes weeds well, doesn’t scalp as much and looks absolutely beautiful and lush.
Buffalo turf grass in rolls or slabs is by far the best and easiest way to grow a lawn. If you still do decide to use seed instead, keep the idea of instant turf in your mind as more often than not you will still need to buy live turf after the attempt at seeding has failed.
Below is a table showing cost comparisons between Instant turf and other outdoor surfaces.
Costings based on a surface area of 10m2
|Garden Bed plantings||$498.00||$2300.00|
Includes costs for: site preparation; underlay; soil; surface preparation; supply; install; and optional finishing.
Data sourced from the Landscape Association of NSW. Figures based on domestic-type works. For more accurate and commercial pricing please contact your local Turf Grower.
Click here for more about why Instant turf is the way to grow Buffalo
There are alternatives to seed or runners if you need to repair patches in your lawn, Click Here to look at Viro-Cell Lawn information