Buffalo Grass (Buchloe Dactyloides)

Plant: Table of Contents

Buffalo Grass (Buchloe dactyloides) – A Comprehensive Guide

Buffalo grass (Buchloe dactyloides) is a warm-season perennial grass that is native to the Great Plains of North America. It is known for its low maintenance requirements, drought tolerance, and dense, fine-textured turf. This versatile grass species has been utilized in a variety of settings, ranging from residential lawns to sports fields and conservation areas. In this comprehensive guide, we will delve into the biology, cultivation, and maintenance of buffalo grass, along with its various uses and benefits.

What is Buffalo Grass (Buchloe dactyloides)?

Buffalo grass, scientifically known as Buchloe dactyloides, belongs to the Poaceae family and is a resilient grass species that has adapted to a range of environmental conditions. It is a warm-season perennial grass, meaning that it thrives in warm to hot climates and experiences active growth during the summer months. This grass species is characterized by its fine texture and distinct blue-green hue, making it an attractive choice for lawns and landscapes.

Buffalo grass is a stoloniferous grass, meaning that it propagates through above-ground stems known as stolons. This growth habit enables the grass to spread and form a dense turf, making it an excellent choice for ground cover and erosion control. Additionally, buffalo grass is known for its ability to withstand heavy foot traffic, making it suitable for areas that experience frequent use.

Key Takeaways – Buffalo Grass (Buchloe dactyloides)

Before delving into the specific aspects of buffalo grass cultivation and maintenance, let’s take a look at some key takeaways that encapsulate the essence of this resilient grass species:

  • Drought Tolerance: Buffalo grass exhibits exceptional drought tolerance, making it well-suited for arid climates and low-water landscapes.
  • Low Maintenance: As a native grass species, buffalo grass requires minimal maintenance, reducing the need for intensive irrigation and fertilization.
  • High Traffic Tolerance: Its ability to withstand heavy foot traffic makes buffalo grass an ideal choice for recreational areas and lawns with frequent use.
  • Environmental Benefits: Buffalo grass is an eco-friendly option for lawns and landscapes, contributing to water conservation and biodiversity support.

Buffalo Grass Culture


Buffalo grass is well-known for its remarkable drought tolerance. Once established, it requires minimal irrigation, making it an ideal choice for regions with limited water availability. The deep root system of buffalo grass enables it to access soil moisture at lower levels, contributing to its ability to withstand extended periods of drought. While buffalo grass can thrive in dry conditions, it is essential to provide supplemental irrigation during the establishment phase to ensure successful growth.

  • Water Conservation: Buffalo grass contributes to water conservation efforts, particularly in regions prone to drought and water scarcity.
  • Irrigation Management: Once established, buffalo grass requires infrequent watering, reducing reliance on irrigation systems.


Buffalo grass thrives in full sun to partial shade, making it adaptable to a range of light conditions. While it exhibits optimal growth in full sun, it can tolerate moderate shade, making it suitable for landscapes with varying light exposure.

  • Adaptability: Buffalo grass can adapt to differing light conditions, enhancing its versatility in landscapes with diverse sun exposure.


Buffalo grass has relatively low fertility requirements, and excessive fertilization can lead to negative outcomes, such as thatch accumulation and reduced drought tolerance. When fertilization is necessary, it is essential to use a low-nitrogen fertilizer to promote healthy growth without stimulating excessive leaf development.

  • Minimal Fertilization: Due to its low fertility requirements, buffalo grass minimizes the need for intensive fertilization, contributing to environmental sustainability.
  • Thatch Reduction: Proper fertilization practices help prevent thatch accumulation, promoting the overall health of the buffalo grass turf.


Buffalo grass is adaptable to a variety of soil types, ranging from clay to sandy loam. However, it thrives in well-drained soils with good aeration. By selecting suitable soil types and ensuring proper drainage, the establishment and growth of buffalo grass can be optimized.

  • Soil Adaptability: Buffalo grass exhibits resilience to different soil types, enhancing its potential for widespread cultivation.
  • Adequate Drainage: Ensuring proper soil drainage is crucial for promoting healthy buffalo grass growth and minimizing the risk of waterlogged conditions.


Buffalo grass typically requires minimal pruning, as its growth habit involves spreading via stolons to form a dense turf. Occasional mowing may be necessary to maintain an even turf height and manage the spread of the grass across the landscape. By adhering to proper mowing practices, the overall health and aesthetic appeal of the buffalo grass lawn can be upheld.

  • Low Pruning Needs: The minimal pruning requirement of buffalo grass contributes to its low maintenance nature and reduces the need for frequent lawn care activities.


Buffalo grass can be propagated through seeds or stolons, allowing for flexibility in establishment methods. Direct seeding is a common approach for establishing buffalo grass, while stolon planting can expedite the formation of a dense turf. By selecting suitable propagation methods and adhering to proper establishment practices, successful buffalo grass growth can be achieved.

  • Establishment Flexibility: The availability of multiple propagation methods provides options for initiating buffalo grass growth, catering to diverse cultivation preferences.
  • Rapid Turf Formation: Stolon propagation accelerates the establishment of a dense buffalo grass turf, making it an efficient choice for landscape application.

Container Popularity

Buffalo grass is gaining popularity as a container plant, particularly in xeriscapes and low-maintenance landscapes. Its ability to thrive with minimal water and maintenance requirements makes it a viable option for container gardening, contributing to its increasing prominence in horticultural settings.

  • Container Versatility: Buffalo grass’s suitability for container planting extends its utilization in diverse gardening and landscaping contexts, offering an alternative to traditional turf grasses.

Container Common Diseases

While buffalo grass is relatively resistant to diseases, certain factors may contribute to the development of fungal infections, such as prolonged moisture and poor air circulation. By implementing proper cultural practices and fostering optimal growing conditions, the risk of disease occurrence can be mitigated.

  • Disease Prevention: Effective disease management involves maintaining proper air circulation, implementing proper irrigation practices, and monitoring environmental conditions to safeguard buffalo grass health.

Disease Diagnosis

In the event of potential disease issues, it is essential to assess the visual symptoms and conduct diagnostic tests, such as laboratory analysis of plant samples, to accurately identify the causal agent. By diagnosing diseases promptly and accurately, appropriate management strategies can be implemented to address the specific concerns affecting the buffalo grass.

  • Timely Intervention: Swift disease diagnosis enables the timely application of targeted management techniques, reducing the impact of diseases on buffalo grass health.

Common Pests

Buffalo grass is relatively resistant to pest infestations, owing to its robust nature and adaptability. However, certain pests, such as white grubs and billbugs, may pose occasional concerns. By monitoring for pest activity and implementing preventive measures, the potential impact of pest infestations on buffalo grass can be minimized.

  • Pest Monitoring: Regular assessment of pest presence allows for early detection and proactive pest management, safeguarding the health of buffalo grass.

Botanist’s Tips

1. Optimal Establishment Techniques

When establishing buffalo grass, selecting the appropriate propagation method based on the specific landscape requirements can expedite turf formation and promote successful growth.

2. Sustainable Maintenance Practices

Adhering to sustainable maintenance practices, such as minimal water usage and low-fertility fertilization, contributes to the environmental benefits of cultivating buffalo grass.

3. Disease and Pest Vigilance

Regular monitoring for disease symptoms and pest activity enables early intervention, preserving the health and vigor of buffalo grass landscapes.

Fun Facts

  • Buffalo grass (Buchloe dactyloides) is named for its historical significance as a primary forage grass for the American bison, often referred to as buffalo.
  • The resilient nature of buffalo grass contributes to its utilization in restoration efforts for native prairies and conservation landscapes.

Links to External Resources

For additional information on buffalo grass (Buchloe dactyloides), explore the following resources:

In conclusion, buffalo grass (Buchloe dactyloides) stands out as a resilient, low-maintenance grass species with diverse applications and environmental benefits. Its adaptability to varying environmental conditions, minimal maintenance requirements, and ecological contributions position it as a valuable asset in landscaping, conservation, and sustainable horticulture.

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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.