In North America, one of the most common native types of grass is buffalo grass. It is favored because of how low maintenance it is, requiring far less watering, mowing, fertilizing, and other care. This is because of how low growing buffalo grass is and when you compare it to something like Bermuda, it has a wealth of advantages including not spreading as rapidly.
Buffalo grass is incredibly resistant and an established lawn will stand up well to long, dry spells as well as being remarkably tolerant to cooler weather, despite being a warm season grass.
This type of grass will only need watering about half as often as something like Kentucky bluegrass. Moreover, you can get away with applying fertilizer just once or twice a year. While buffalo grass is one of the more low maintenance options, it does still need to be mowed. But what is the best way for mowing buffalo grass?
The most important thing about mowing buffalo grass is to get a balanced height. We would recommend anywhere between one and a half inches and four inches. If you cut the lawn too short then it’s much easier for thatch to develop whereas cutting it too high doesn’t look great and can cause moisture to become trapped. To make it even easier to understand, it’s recommended to only cut half of the grass height per mowing session.
You will need to cut buffalo grass between every eight and ten days in the summer months as it tends to grow a lot more quickly. However, during the other seasons, it will require even less maintenance.
Getting your lawn to look perfect does require some input, regardless of the type of grass you plant. But if you want your buffalo grass to thrive then take a look over our complete guide to mowing buffalo grass.
The growth rate of grass all depends on how long the leaves are. This is because plants use photosynthesis to grow. This is a process in which sunlight synthesizes nutrients from water and carbon dioxide. The bigger the leaves, the more readily this process is able to happen. So, when it comes to cutting your buffalo grass, you’ll need to think about the height in order the photosynthesis can happen as effectively as possible.
If you cut your buffalo grass too short, you will reduce the surface area through which the grass is able to process its nutrients. As a direct result of this, the grass will become damaged, not to mention that the grass will not grow as quickly.
If you are looking to create a dense, lush lawn then you’ll need to make sure that you keep your buffalo grass height a little higher. Most people suffer problems with this type of grass because they cut it too short. The leaves of this grass are naturally longer so it’s best to work with it rather than against it.
How Often To Mow Buffalo Grass
Buffalo grass certainly has its advantages but there are some things that can get out of hand if the lawn is not mowed regularly. Typically speaking, this is not an aggressively invasive grass. That said, it does cover ground quickly and may suffer with a lot of weeds if it isn’t kept in check. This is why setting a regular mowing schedule is really important. Mowing the grass between every 8 and 14 days in summer should be more than enough.
On top of that, mowing regularly will ensure that the grass stays healthy, green and dense. When you cut the grass, it puts a certain amount of stress on the leaves which use their energy to start repairing the wounds. This encourages growth but also stops the grass from spreading as quickly as the energy is focused elsewhere so you get the perfect balance.
There are different types of buffalo grass which means that not all of them grow at the same speed. Moreover, you have to look at external factors which will affect the speed of growth including the quality of the soil, the weather, the available nutrients and water.
When mowing your buffalo grass, it is not only important to stick to a routine but also imperative that you don’t cut too much in one session. You should only cut half of the height of the existing growth as this will control things like weeds and thatch without harming the health of the grass.
What’s more, if you cut the buffalo grass too short then this can lead to moisture being evaporated from the soil too quickly which is going to affect the health of your lawn.
How Often To Mow Buffalo Grass
As we have already discussed, buffalo grass should not be cut super short. It is a good idea to only take around half of the current length during any one mowing session. Leaving the grass too long can also cause problems.
What Happens If You Mow Buffalo Grass Too Short?
If you cut your buffalo grass too short then you are going to be faced with a series of problems. For starters, it will not be able to take as many nutrients so you will find that you have to fertilize it more often. Since this is supposed to be a low maintenance grass, this is likely not what you’ll want. Plus, if you don’t keep on top of fertilizing and the grass is too short, it’s going to end up looking brown and lifeless.
In the hot summer months, mowing buffalo grass too short will expose it to hot temperatures which will draw out moisture much more quickly. It doesn’t take me to tell you that this isn’t good for the lawn.
On top of this, short buffalo grass has a tendency to build thatch up much more quickly. You may also notice that the lawn becomes more prone to diseases and is invaded by pests more frequently. But the main problem with cutting buffalo grass too short is that the root systems become much more unhealthy meaning that the grass becomes less resistant and will start to lose color.
Types Of Buffalo Grass
There are different types of buffalo grass. While they are all warm weather grasses that require little maintenance, each one has its own characteristics.
Many people would consider prestige buffalo to be one of the best types of this grass. It’s also one of the newest and benefits from a lovely deep green hue that remains pretty consistent.
The grass is easily able to recover from stress and is one of the more hard wearing types. It’s also great for drier climates thanks to its drought tolerance.
Compared to other types of buffalo grass, sapphire has slightly thinner leaves but it’s great for resisting thatch and will retain a nice color even over winter. Since the leaves tend to fold over on themselves, this helps to protect from frost and you’ll find that it has a very good recovery rate.
Most people opt for palmetto buffalo grass as it is extremely low maintenance and doesn’t have to be watered as much. What’s great about it is that it is so hard wearing so if you have pets or children that frequently use the lawn, it’ll stand up to this much better. Plus, palmetto is particularly resistant to weed growth as it is so dense.
Mowing Buffalo Grass Seasons
Taking care of your buffalo grass will vary across the seasons. This type of grass does grow more quickly in summer but mowing will be extremely minimal in fall, spring, and winter.
Buffalo grass is a warm season grass which means that it is naturally going to grow more quickly during summer. This means that you will need to cut the grass more often but it still isn’t going to be as much as other types of grass.
Normally, you would expect to cut buffalo grass around every eight to ten days and in some cases, you could go up to two weeks between mowing sessions.
The important thing is to make sure that you are consistent with the buffalo grass height which needs to be between one and a half and four inches. If you allow it to grow any longer than this in summer then you will find it grows even more quickly which can affect its health and appearance. Not to mention that, when you do come to mow it again, you’ll have your work cut out for you!
Not only that but mowing thicker, denser grass can be damaging to your lawn mower. Over time, it’ll have to work harder and you’ll have to replace it sooner. The grass may also become damaged with more thatch developing and the roots being affected.
Once summer is over and we move into the late fall, you will find that the rate of growth for your buffalo grass slows down significantly. In fact, during this time, it’s not uncommon that the grass might appear as though it’s not growing at all.
You will likely notice that a thick layer of thatch is building up at this time of year and this is normal for warm season grasses like bermuda; they naturally create thatch more quickly. But there is a reason for this as we will see once winter comes around.
During winter, buffalo grass will be using a lot of its energy to protect the layer of thatch that has developed. Most people are keen to remove this but we wouldn’t suggest doing this during winter as it is providing an important layer of protection to the soil from the cold. Since buffalo grass is a warm season grass, this cold protection is essential.
When spring rolls around, your buffalo grass still won’t be growing at a super alarming rate. However, towards the end of the season, you may see it speeding up slightly. But late spring is a great time to start removing thatch as the lawn will no longer need it for protection against the cold.
Does Mowing Buffalo Grass Promote Growth?
It’s really important to cut your grass regularly as this will keep it healthy. A lot of people avoid cutting their buffalo grass or will leave it too long in the hope that this will be better for it. But if you want to promote healthy growth then it’s essential to find the right buffalo grass height.
While we have established that it is possible to cut buffalo grass too short, it is also possible to cut it too high. When you do this, the grass blades will double over onto themselves, suffocating the grass underneath so you end up with a much more unhealthy lawn.
You don’t need to go over the top with cutting buffalo grass; you could leave it up to 14 days between mowing. However, regular maintenance encourages thicker growth and a more lush-looking lawn.
Buffalo grass is an extremely popular choice in North America as this is a hard wearing, resistant grass that doesn’t require a lot of maintenance.
Of course, as with any type of grass, you will need to mow it regularly to encourage healthy growth but this needs to only be around every eight to ten days during mowing season.