Can I Grow Buffalo Grass from Seed

Can I Grow Buffalo Grass from Seed

All new roll-on lawns can be an expensive option for many people, especially when we begin talking about new lawns for larger areas to be turfed.

Buffalo grass is no exception to this rule, and can sometimes be more expensive than other grass types such as Couch and Zoysia. But even within the price differences between grass types, we can also see that some brands of Buffalo grass can be more expensive than others.

For people eager to cut the costs involved in buying a new lawn, other options such as planting a new lawn from starting with grass seed, rather than buying a roll of turf from a farm, are considered.

So, can Buffalo grass be grown from seed?

The Issues with Growing Buffalo Grass Seeds

Growing Buffalo grass from seed is notoriously difficult, so much so that Buffalo turf growers will never harvest their entire crop of Buffalo grass but will instead leave behind strips of turf from which to grow the new crop of Buffalo.

So why is it so hard to grow Buffalo grass from seed? The reality is, most commercially available Buffalo grass produces male sterile seeds, which will not grow. If it does grow, likely you will have been sold a seed mix, which can contain as little as 50 per cent Buffalo seed, topped up with another variety, such as Rye grass.

Germination rates are also a point of contention. While some sellers may boast an 80% germination rate, these rates are usually only achieved under ideal planting and growing conditions, which are unlikely in domestic backyards. Add in birds and unpredictable weather, and your chances of achieving consistent cover are greatly reduced.

If you do manage to grow some grass, you’re unlikely to achieve the same result as commercial turf growers. By saving on price, you may be compromising on the very qualities that make Buffalo grass so desirable – drought tolerance, hardiness, and the ability to thrive in both full sun and shade.

In short, even if you’re willing to sacrifice the time, money and energy required to establish and grow Buffalo grass from seed, the chances of producing a result that is equal to professionally grown turf is very unlikely, and probably a huge waste of time.

Turf Breeders growing Buffalo from seed

Some Turf Breeders do indeed breed and grow new Buffalo grasses from seed during their development and breeding cycle, but it’s very rare.

They do this with massive quantities of seed which is often selected and blended and then planted in the same large quantities to obtain a few new grass plants for further selection. This is ‘real’ Buffalo grass turf breeding and we’re only aware of a single brand of buffalo grass developed and sold in Australia today which was bred in this manner, which is Sapphire®.

Instead, due to the difficulties involved in Buffalo turf breeding, based on the difficulties of breeding, and growing this grass from seed, most Buffalo grasses that are claimed to have been bred were instead ‘selected’ amongst naturally growing variants.

What this means is that the new Buffalo grass naturally developed different characteristics on its own and adapted to different growing conditions. Interesting isn’t it. The grass simply adapted itself to new growing conditions.

Tips for Buffalo Grass Seeding

If you’re still brave enough to try growing Buffalo grass, here are some tips:

  • Buffalo grass performs best in direct sunlight, so select an open location that receives 6-8 hours of sunlight throughout the day, and with few trees
  • Soil preparation is very important. Make sure the area is clear of any existing vegetation, including any sub-surface roots, prior to planting.
  • Sow your seeds through summer to ensure that there is enough warmth in the soil for germination.
  • Make sure you source your seeds from a reputable supplier.
  • Using a rake, create runs in the soil. Plant your seeds at a rate of 1kg of seed per 100m2. Once the seed has been planted, use your rake to cover them over – this will prevent birds from snacking on your lawn.
  • Water your newly sown lawn every day for the first week. You should start to see germination within 2-3 weeks. If you are successful, you will see full coverage within 3 months.

Mow regularly to maintain steady growth and grass health.

Benefits of Laying Buffalo Turf

If you have your heart set on Buffalo grass, nothing beats the results you get from professionally installed Buffalo turf.

Buffalo Grass is a lush green, low maintenance turf that grows in both sunny and shady environments. Being a drought tolerant variety, it is suitable for hot Australian summers – so no more dry, brown lawns in February. It also maintains its colour in winter

If weeds are an issue, Buffalo’s dense habit is ideal, making it difficult for weeds to take root in your lawn. Buffalo also has good salt tolerance, which makes it suitable for coastal gardens, or around salt-water pools.

Popular Buffalo Turf Varieties

There are several different varieties of buffalo grass available on the market, allowing you to choose one that best suits what you wish to get from your lawn.

Prestige Buffalo

Prestige Buffalo® Grass is the ultimate choice for lovers of dark green, soft leaf lawn year-round. Bred from the World’s most popular buffalo – Palmetto – it possesses several outstanding traits that make it a popular choice. Prestige Buffalo has high shade tolerance, with up to 70% shade tolerance in low wear areas, and up to 50% with moderate to high wear.

Sapphire Buffalo

Sapphire Buffalo® is an Australian bred fine leaf textured turf with very high shade tolerance, unbeatable softness and qualities that suit a tough climate and wear and tear. With the ultimate luxury feel, Sapphire Buffalo requires less mowing and is hard-wearing as well as being drought tolerant. 

Palmetto Buffalo

Palmetto Buffalo grass is a soft broad leaf variety that requires less watering and mowing than most turf varieties. It features a distinct dark emerald colour which looks equally striking throughout winter. With its deep-rooted system, Palmetto Buffalo is an efficient water user and is drought tolerant.

So what’s the verdict… can I grow Buffalo grass from seed?

In short, while it may be possible to grow Buffalo Grass from seed, you probably shouldn’t. The reality is the likelihood of producing the lush, thick lawn you expect when you envision a Buffalo lawn is very slim when growing from seed. 

If you’re dreaming of a new Buffalo grass lawn, but looking to save a few dollars, your best bet is to investigate growing Buffalo grass from Buffalo runners or from Buffalo plugs. That said, the best results come from selecting a tried-and-true Buffalo variety – and there are many to choose from – from a reputable Buffalo turf grower.

For more fast facts and Q&As on our Buffalo varieties –

Read more about the features, benefits and pricing of Buffalo Lawns, or check out our handy Quick Lawn Selection Guide.

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