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Mr. Smarty Plants - Procedure for planting buffalograss

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Tuesday - June 30, 2009

From: Oklahoma City, OK
Region: Southwest
Topic: Grasses or Grass-like
Title: Procedure for planting buffalograss
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

I would like to get a full schedule of events/actions for planting a lawn with buffalo grass. The area is already a lawn, though mostly weeds. It is June/July. First, cover area to be seeded with black plastic to burn out current plants. (How long to cover? Is now the appropriate time?) Once this is done, seed with buffalo grass seed. How much water and how long to water? Finally, when to cover area with corn gluten fertilizer/herbicide? Sorry for disjointed form of my summary; essentially, I need to know the details of what to do and when to do it to replace old weedy lawn with new buffalo grass seed, and how to best ensure its germination. Thanks for your help.

ANSWER:

As it happens, we have an How-To Article Native Lawns: Buffalograss. Read that and you will know what our experts know about taking out an old lawn and putting in a new native one. One thing we would like to say upfront-don't cover the buffalograss lawn with anything, especially fertilizers or herbicides. One of the main reasons the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center advocates native plants so vigorously is because they are already acclimated to the climate, rainfall and soil of the area where they are being planted, and therefore need less water, less fertilizer (or no fertilizer) and less maintenance. And we don't recommend using herbicide to clear weeds for the new lawn. Since it really is too hot to be planting much in the way of native plants, or anything else for that matter, you might consider this article on Soil Solarization from  Arid-Southwestern Gardening Information.

For more information on putting in a buffalograss lawn. take a look at the Native American Seed Website. Their home page right now is addressing your questions about when and how to plant native grasses. On that page, click on "Shop for Seeds" and in that list, click on "grass mixes." When you get the page of pictures of different grass mixtures, click on Native Sun Turfgrass. This is a mix of 34% Bouteloua gracilis (blue grama) and 66% Bouteloua dactyloides (buffalograss). Regardless of where you purchase your seeds, this company has lots of information that can be of use to you. 

One last word before you commit to the grasses you are going to plant: Buffalograss really does require full sun, which we consider 6 or more hours of sun a day. If your area doesn't provide that, consider some other native grasses which can tolerate shade, and don't waste time and money putting in the sun-loving buffalograss. 


Bouteloua gracilis

Bouteloua gracilis

Bouteloua dactyloides

Bouteloua dactyloides

 

 

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