Buffalo Grass (Buchloe Dactyloides ‘Sharp’s Improved’)

Plant: Table of Contents

Buffalo Grass (Buchloe dactyloides ‘Sharp’s Improved’)

Buffalo grass (Buchloe dactyloides) is a native North American grass known for its outstanding hardiness and low maintenance requirements. ‘Sharp’s Improved’ is a specific variety of Buffalo grass that offers enhanced characteristics making it a popular choice for residential and commercial landscapes. In this comprehensive guide, we will delve into the culture, uses, care, and maintenance of Buffalo grass (Buchloe dactyloides ‘Sharp’s Improved’).

What is Buffalo Grass (Buchloe dactyloides ‘Sharp’s Improved’)

Buffalo grass (Buchloe dactyloides) is a warm-season perennial grass indigenous to the North American prairies. It belongs to the Poaceae family and is well-known for its drought tolerance, low water requirements, and minimal maintenance needs. ‘Sharp’s Improved’ is a variety of Buffalo grass that exhibits improved characteristics, making it a favored choice for lawns, landscapes, and other turfgrass applications.

Key Takeaways – Buffalo Grass (Buchloe dactyloides ‘Sharp’s Improved’)

  • Scientific Name: Buchloe dactyloides ‘Sharp’s Improved’
  • Family: Poaceae
  • Common Name: Buffalo Grass
  • Variety: Sharp’s Improved
  • Type: Warm-season perennial grass
  • Origin: North American prairies
  • Characteristics: Drought-tolerant, low maintenance, fine texture
  • Uses: Lawns, landscaping, erosion control, wildlife habitats
  • Adaptability: Well-suited for low-foot traffic areas, eco-friendly landscapes, xeriscaping
  • Distinct Feature: Enhanced turf quality



Buffalo grass, including the ‘Sharp’s Improved’ variety, is renowned for its exceptional drought resistance, making it an ideal choice for regions with limited water availability. It has the ability to withstand prolonged periods of drought without sacrificing its visual appeal. Additionally, Buffalo grass has a remarkable capacity to recover from dormancy once favorable growing conditions return.

Watering Recommendations

  • Newly Established Lawns: Adequate watering is crucial during the initial establishment phase. Water the newly planted Buffalo grass regularly to keep the soil consistently moist.
  • Established Lawns: Once established, Buffalo grass requires minimal irrigation. Water deeply but infrequently, promoting deep root growth. Depending on the climate and soil type, a general guideline is to provide approximately 1 inch of water every 2-3 weeks during the growing season.
  • Dormant Season: Buffalo grass naturally goes dormant during periods of prolonged drought or in lower temperatures. While it may turn golden brown, it is important to note that Buffalo grass has the ability to recover once environmental conditions become favorable again.


Buffalo grass is a sun-loving grass variety, thriving in full sun exposure. It is well-suited for landscapes that receive abundant sunlight throughout the day. While it can tolerate light shade, Buffalo grass exhibits optimal growth and quality in areas with ample sun exposure.


One of the key advantages of Buffalo grass, especially the ‘Sharp’s Improved’ variety, is its minimal fertilizer requirements. It typically thrives in low-nutrient soils and has evolved to adapt to nutrient-deficient environments. Excessive fertilization can result in reduced turf quality and may not promote desirable growth characteristics.

Fertilization Recommendations

  • Established Lawns: Buffalo grass often does not require regular fertilization. However, if needed, a light application of a balanced fertilizer in early spring can support growth and vigor.
  • Soil Test: Before applying any fertilizer, it is recommended to conduct a soil test to assess the nutrient levels and pH of the soil. This will ensure that any necessary amendments are made based on the specific needs of the Buffalo grass.


Buffalo grass is well-adapted to various soil types, including clay, loamy, and sandy soils. It thrives in well-drained soils and has the ability to withstand poor fertility and alkaline conditions. ‘Sharp’s Improved’ Buffalo grass showcases enhanced adaptability to different soil types and is recognized for its ability to establish and thrive in challenging soil environments.

Soil Requirements

  • Well-Drained Soil: Buffalo grass flourishes in soils with good drainage, preventing waterlogged conditions that can adversely affect its growth.
  • Environmental Adaptability: It exhibits resilience in both fertile and nutrient-deficient soils, making it suitable for a wide range of soil conditions.
  • Drought Tolerance: The deep root system of Buffalo grass enables it to effectively access soil moisture, contributing to its exceptional drought tolerance.


Mowing Height

Maintaining an appropriate mowing height is essential for promoting the health and vigor of Buffalo grass lawns. ‘Sharp’s Improved’ Buffalo grass shares similar mowing requirements with common Buffalo grass varieties. It is essential to adhere to the recommended mowing height to ensure optimal growth and appearance.

Mowing Recommendations

  • Height: Maintain a mowing height of 2-3 inches for Buffalo grass lawns. Avoid cutting the grass too short, as it can hinder its ability to withstand environmental stress and compete with weeds.
  • Mowing Frequency: Infrequent mowing is typically required for Buffalo grass, especially during times of limited growth. Regular mowing is more common during the peak growing season to maintain the desired lawn height.


Buffalo grass can be propagated through several methods, including seeds, plugs, and sod. The propagation technique chosen is often based on the specific requirements of the landscaping project, as well as the environmental conditions and desired establishment timeframes.

Seed Propagation

  • Seeding Time: Buffalo grass is ideally propagated from seed in late spring when soil temperatures have reached the appropriate levels for germination.
  • Seedbed Preparation: Prepare a well-leveled seedbed free of weeds and debris to promote successful seed establishment.
  • Seeding Rate: Sow Buffalo grass seeds at the recommended rate, ensuring even coverage across the designated area.

Plug Planting

  • Plug Density: When using plugs for propagation, ensure an adequate spacing between the individual plugs to support the development of a lush and uniform lawn.
  • Establishment: Proper watering and monitoring are crucial during the initial stages of plug planting to facilitate successful establishment and growth.

Sod Installation

  • Sod Considerations: While less common than seeding or plug planting, sod installation can provide an immediate and fully established Buffalo grass lawn. Proper soil preparation and irrigation are essential to support the sod’s integration and growth into the landscape.

Container Popularity

Buffalo grass, particularly the ‘Sharp’s Improved’ variety, is gaining popularity as a container grass due to its adaptability to container gardening and low-maintenance nature. Its dense, spreading growth habit and ability to thrive in limited soil environments make it an attractive option for container and pot planting.

Container Considerations

  • Size: Select containers that provide ample space for the Buffalo grass roots to establish and grow. Larger containers generally offer increased room for root development.
  • Drainage: Ensure that the containers have adequate drainage to prevent waterlogging, as excessive moisture can negatively impact the Buffalo grass’s growth.
  • Sunlight: Position the containers in areas with sufficient sunlight to support the optimal growth and development of the Buffalo grass.

Common Diseases

Buffalo grass is known for its exceptional disease resistance and ability to thrive in adverse conditions. However, it is still susceptible to certain diseases, although the occurrences are relatively rare, especially for the ‘Sharp’s Improved’ variety.

Disease Resistance

  • Fungal Diseases: Buffalo grass exhibits notable resistance to various fungal diseases, including brown patch and dollar spot, enhancing its overall resilience.
  • Common Diagnostic Signs: If disease symptoms are observed, professional diagnosis and treatment recommendations may be necessary to address the specific issues affecting the Buffalo grass.

Disease Diagnosis

Buffalo grass diseases may manifest in the form of discoloration, wilting, or unusual growth patterns. It is essential to monitor the grass carefully and promptly address any suspicious symptoms through proper diagnosis and treatment.

Common Pests

Buffalo grass, including the ‘Sharp’s Improved’ variety, is generally resistant to major pest infestations, contributing to its low-maintenance appeal. Its hardiness and adaptability serve as natural deterrents against common lawn pests.

Pest Resistance

  • Grubs and Insects: Buffalo grass demonstrates resilience against various invasive insects, such as sod webworms and chinch bugs.
  • Minimal Pest Issues: The low susceptibility to pest damage reduces the need for extensive pest control measures in Buffalo grass lawns.

Botanist’s Tips

Planting Recommendations

  • Optimal Timing: Plant Buffalo grass during its active growth period, providing favorable conditions for establishment and development.
  • Soil Preparation: Adequately prepare the soil by addressing any compaction issues and ensuring optimal drainage prior to planting or propagation.
  • Watering Practices: Implement appropriate watering practices during establishment to promote healthy root development and overall plant vigor.

Maintenance Guidelines

  • Mowing Height: Maintain the recommended mowing height to support Buffalo grass health and resilience against environmental stressors.
  • Irrigation: Practice deep, infrequent watering to encourage deep root growth and enhance drought tolerance.
  • Evaluation: Regularly assess the lawn for any signs of stress, pest infestation, or disease development, promptly addressing any concerns.

Fun Facts

  • Buffalo grass is considered a highly resilient and environmentally friendly grass species, contributing to sustainable landscaping practices.
  • Native American tribes historically utilized Buffalo grass for various cultural and practical purposes, recognizing its significance and adaptability in their environments.

Links to External Resources

To further explore the world of Buffalo grass and its ‘Sharp’s Improved’ variety, consider the following resources:

In this comprehensive guide, we have covered the culture, uses, care, and maintenance of Buffalo grass, specifically focusing on the ‘Sharp’s Improved’ variety. From water and sunlight requirements to different propagation methods and common diseases, we have delved into the essential aspects of nurturing and appreciating this resilient and versatile grass species. Whether you are a homeowner, landscaper, or gardening enthusiast, understanding the unique characteristics and management techniques for Buffalo grass can enhance your appreciation for its intrinsic beauty and practical value in various landscapes.

Picture of Peter Taylors

Peter Taylors

Expert botanist who loves plants. His expertise spans taxonomy, plant ecology, and ethnobotany. An advocate for plant conservation, he mentors and educates future botanists, leaving a lasting impact on the field.