Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Watching Grass Grow: Buffalo Grass After Four Phoenix Summers

I haven't updated about the buffalo grass lawn because there hasn't been much to update.  It grows, it gets watered, it needs very little mowing, and it's reasonably weed free.  It hasn't been fertilized since we planted it.

We even tried to kill it, and failed.  I was out of town all spring and early summer, and I forgot to tell my roommate to set the watering frequency to every 10 days, so it went until late June on a couple of 15-minute waterings and a trace of rain. I didn't take a picture of it before the water was increased, unfortunately.  It greened up a bit, but the blades were short and a distressed-looking grey-green.  It was in survival mode, waiting for the monsoons.

Buffalo Grass: September 5, 2012
This is not meant to be a clipped formal lawn, it's a grassy meadow.

The remedy for the neglect was water - a double watering immediately to soak the ground deeply and sticking to the every 10 day schedule explained in "Calculating Buffalo Grass Watering".  It's using only half as much water as Bermuda grass. There are a couple of scanty spots, but it's recovered well.

Here it is after being resuscitated. The slightly darker patches are the !@#$@$ Bermuda grass that persists despite my efforts to eradicate it.  The buffalo grass seems to be acting as a living mulch for the Bermuda. Neither one can outgrow the other and take over.

It's been mowed twice, most recently in late July. 


Guy Ellis said...

How can I contact you? I'm experimenting with growing kikuyu grass in AZ (Scottsdale) and would like to brainstorm with you.

Anonymous said...

Guy -
I'll call you at your work and leave a number for callback.

Kikuyu? In the wrong climate, that can make Bermuda grass look innocent.

shareyourthoughtz said...

I'd like to purchase some buffalo grass seed.. can you tell me where you purchased yours?

thank you.

Lazy Gardens said...

We planted plugs, not seed.

Search Google for buffalo grass seed - there are several vendors. Pay attention to the region the grass is optimal for, because there are several strains of it.

Mary said...

So, I'm pretty ticked. Last year we bought a bunch of buffalo grass plugs from Civano that they said was a new variety (Prestige), and babied them all summer. They grew nicely, but really, we had to water them daily until they went dormant just to keep them alive. I thought for sure this summer it would be different. Nope, we *still* have to water the grass several times a week to get it to stay green. It's insane! We had the sprinklers off when the monsoons came and forgot to turn it back on when the rains stopped. After about week a quarter of the the buffalo grass was dying and the Bermuda grass patches looked amazing still. About a quarter of the buffalo never grew back and we have these big dead patches now. So apparently the prestige buffalo sucks for AZ. It would be cool to try the UC Verde, but part of me just wants to forget the whole thing, drive down to Home Depot and pick up a back of Bermuda seed.

Lazy Gardens said...

Mary -
If Civano sold you the wrong plugs for your area, ask them to replace them with UC Verde for free.

By the end of the first summer I was watering every 10 days and it was thriving.