Landscaping with Buffalo Grass

How to plant Buffalo grass as well as several advantages when planting it in South Africa. Buffalo grass is a grass that grows in semi-shade as well as sun...

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Buffalo Grass Landscaping

Buffalo grass is a hard wearing lawn grass which requires very little attention when compared to other types of lawn grasses. It can be grown in full sun or partial shade and in poor or good soil but of course it will show improved performance when grown in a well prepared and fertilised soil.

Buffalo grass will develop a reasonably good cover in four to five months if planted in spring or early summer. It is fine to plant this grass in autumn or winter but it will obviously be slower growing until the arrival of spring. If runners are to be used then young runners must be used when planting. These re-root very quickly and continue growing rapidly especially if planted in spring and summer.

  • Thorough preparation of the soil will ensure faster regrowth and a much healthier lawn.
  • Regular feeding, watering and weeding are recommended immediately after planting. Most weeds do not get a chance to grow once the grass has covered your planted area and the amount of water and feeding frequency can then be reduced.
  • Runners or plugs must not be planted deeply. About 30mm (1 inch) deep works well.


Preparation of the Soil

Planting Grass Plugs or Runners
Planting Grass Plugs or Runners

Buffalo grass will benefit from thorough preparation of the area to be established under lawn in the same way that other lawn grasses benefit.
All foreign matter such as weeds, roots, bricks and large stones must be removed and the soil must be thoroughly cultivated (dug through with a spade) while applying an inorganic fertiliser such as 2.3.4. at the rate of 60 grams per square metre. Level the area with a straight edge or the back of a rake to ready it for planting after you have completed cultivating it.


Planting Buffalo Grass

The most common method used to plant Buffalo grass is the use of young runners planted in furrows about 30mm deep and 15cm apart but plugs can also be used if they are more readily available. Closer planting will cover the area more quickly. The runners should be laid in the 30mm deep furrows just below the soil level and when covered the foliage should just protrude above the surface of the soil.


Promoting Rapid Early Growth

Water thoroughly after planting and thereafter keep the newly planted grass area damp. Once the grass starts to show clear signs of growth, typically after about six weeks in warmer weather, apply a weak solution of ammonium sulphate with the aid of a watering can for smaller areas or a mix-nozzle if you have to cover a large area. Use about 600 grams per 10 litres of water. This quantity should cover about 100 square metres. This application stimulates growth and can be repeated every three weeks until the area is thickly covered. Keep the area free of weeds until complete cover is achieved. After three months a light application of lawn dressing can be applied so as to level the area in readiness for mowing.


Maintaining Buffalo Grass

While Buffalo grass does not normally need much feeding, it does depend upon the type of soil that you have. A light sandy soil is much poorer in mineral elements than a heavier textured soil. Buffalo grass does respond to being fertilised with 2.3.4 about three to four times per year applied at the rate of 60 grams per square metre. Once established Buffalo grass needs very little water and fertiliser which means that it does not need regular cutting, so cut as and when required. This brilliant grass can save you time and money on maintenance.

Although this grass can be tough and quite coarse, if it is regularly watered and fertilised it becomes much softer to the touch and the leaves become more finely textured. The wonderful thing about Buffalo grass is that it allows you to choose what type of lawn you want it to be and therefore is adaptable to the specific needs of each of your lawn areas.


Buffalo Grass Characteristics

  • Buffalo grass develops a thick mat and although it is rather coarse in texture it is hard wearing. It can have a softer texture if kept well watered and fertilised.
  • An established Buffalo grass lawn which is not subject to excessive applications of water and fertilizer will not require cutting as regularly as other types of grass.
  • Buffalo grass will grow well in light shade and full sun whereas Kikuyu and Fine Quick prefer very sunny situations.
  • The cold weather in winter causes Buffalo to lose its dark green colour. When frosted it turns brown but it will soon recover its green colour when fertilised with 3.1.5.(38)
  • Buffalo is shallower rooted than other types of grass and is therefore much easier to control.

Buffalo grass has the disadvantage of being slow to establish in the short term but in the long term it has several advantages because it requires very little maintenance in the way of feeding or watering and therefore it requires less cutting and will grow successfully in shadier places. You will benefit from planting a Buffalo lawn but please be patient in the beginning.

Questions and comments


The questions/comments section has been closed as of 1 Sept 2015

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Aug 16 2015, 10:41 AM
annie king
hi please tel me if there are any good Buffalo or Cynodon lawn available in Cape town
need it now
Aug 20 2015, 11:29 AM
Sorry, eGardens doesn't keep track of current stocks of suppliers. But I'd suggest you give Master Organics a call (021-3961066). They usually stock both of these lawn grass types and their product quality is good. Otherwise ask your closest retail nurseries who their suppliers are (if you want to buy direct and they are prepared to divulge their sources). You can also Google something like "lawn supplier cape town buffalo cynodon" - you might well find more lawn grass suppliers listed there.
Aug 02 2015, 09:55 AM
Hi I live in Cape Town and a patch of our Buffalo grass under a very shady yellow wood tree has turned brown (looks like is dead). I fertilized it with 3.1.5 about a 1 half weeks ago. How long will it take to recover or there anything else I can do?
Aug 13 2015, 11:24 AM
Yellow Wood Trees have very dense foliage, so I suspect that very little sunlight makes it through to the Buffalo Grass. And given that Buffalo Grass grows in up to 60% shade, there is almost certainly not enough sunlight for healthy growth. Your Buffalo Grass will also be competing with the Yellow Wood Tree for soil nutrients. Being pretty much a surface lawn grass, it's unlikely that the Buffalo Grass will recover even if fed. I'd suggest that you buy a couple of trays of LM Berea Grass which does well in deeper shade, and plant the plugs into the whole area. One tray of 200 plugs does 8-12m2, depending on planting density. But perhaps wait until slightly warmer weather (end September/ October) before doing the planting. Until then you would not see much active growth. You could rake the dead Buffalo Grass runners up with a metal rake and then run your lawn mower over the area at its highest setting. Sorry to take so long to get a Response to you - we had problems with our website.
Jul 28 2015, 12:25 PM
Hello Rod,
have planted buffalo grass plugs x 2000. Lots of hard work but they are looking good! I want to know if there is a weedkiller that is safe to use? Obviously during the Cape winter, weeds are popping up quicker than I can pull them out.
Thank you
Aug 11 2015, 11:56 AM
I apologise for the long delay in Responding to you. Our website has suffered the loss of a big chunk of Questions and Responses, between January and July. One has to be selective in choosing a weed herbicide to be used on Buffalo Grass, as this type of lawn has broad leaves. Essentially use a broad leaf weed herbicide which does NOT contain active ingredients Dicamba or 2,4-D. But active ingrediant MCPA is safe to use on Buffalo Grass e.g. Efekto's Banweed MCPA. Yes, weeds are a fact of life around Cape Town during the Winter months. Of course pulling the weeds out manually is SO therapeutic, but I probably won't sell you on that one!
Jan 18 2015, 09:19 AM
Hello Rod,
I want to replant my front lawn with buffalo grass after extensive renovations. I have read through your many helpful responses. Would you recommend plugs or runners? Roll-on is turning out to be too costly. What is speedgrass as mentioned on the master organics website? I am in Durbanville, CT.
Thank you.
Jan 19 2015, 10:11 AM
Frankly, I'm not a roll-on lawn fan but I understand that it does give "instant gratification"! I personally always suggest the planting of lawn grass plugs. One gets to properly prepare and level the area, and one ends up with a nice firm lawn. Roll-on lawn in my experience very often gives one a soft spongy mat and I've never liked the feel of that, nor the difficulty of mowing under those conditions. Relative to Kikuyu Grass, roll-on Buffalo Grass is expensive. So I'd go for what Master Oganics calls "speedtrays". These are polystyrene trays each with rooted lawn grass plugs in 200 cavities. Each tray will cover 8-12m2 depending on planting density. I'd recommend that you double up on planting density to encourage quicker covering. Buffalo Grass is rather slow growing initially, but has significant advantages over other lawn grasses in the longer term. You might also want to consider a new variety of Buffalo Grass called Buffalo Sapphire, now on the market in the Western Cape. It is greener and has finer leaf blades than normal Buffalo Grass. And do follow the soil preparation and post-planting watering guidelines meticulously. Finally, I'd delay planting until the weather becomes a bit cooler down here - possibly April?
Jan 14 2015, 03:23 PM
I would like to start a roll on lawn business on our small farm 30 minutes out of town. Although we are avid gardeners, we know nothing of the finess in getting it up and running and would llike somebody to assist to avoid paying for costly mistakes. Our soil is relatively sandy, on a slight slope and very sunny with regular breezes


Jan 14 2015, 04:05 PM
Not sure if you're planning to grow just Buffalo Grass, or other lawn grasses e.g. Kikuyu/LM Berea Grass too. But I believe there is room for another Buffalo Grass grower. There's no point really in approaching other lawn growers directly for their expertise - they would view you as competition. So I'd recommend that we refer your request to the chap who handles landscaping around Cape Town for us. He has a lot of knowledge and experience, and in many fields. He lives up the West Coast, in the Philadelphia/Atlantis area, which is possibly withing easy reach of your smallholding. He has other lawn growers around his own smallholding so probably knows how to get you started. I'll pass your details on to him, and you can between the two of you decide if/how/on what conditions to proceed.
Jan 06 2015, 06:32 PM
I have buffalo lawn, broad leave, sand is very weak but soft. Water just runs away. I did not use fertilizer when I planted the runners. They grow very nicely. What type of fertilizer or lawn dressing can I use? The runners have a tendency of growing over each other. I keep on pulling them out. Please help. location Kensington C.T
Jan 07 2015, 02:17 PM
I presume you have the typical sandy soil which does not easily absorb water, so prevalent around Cape Town. Someone once told me that this type of sandy soil is in fact quite nutritious. Which explains why your Buffalo Grass is growing "very nicely". You should ideally have dug in both compost and superphosphate prior to planting, but let's rather focus on what you can do from now onwards. I recommend organic refined crumbly poultry manure such as Neutrog Bladerunner as a fertiliser. You can sprinkle it on your lawn monthly, or as often as you can afford. Lawn dressing is normally done around August in most parts of the country, but can be done earlier wherever lawns come into active growth sooner. I'd still suggest about August for Cape Town. Some say that Buffalo Grass should not receive lawn dressing at all, but I disagree PROVIDED that it is applied very thinly, NEVER completely covering the Buffalo Grass. In order to improve water absorption it is essential to somehow get organic material into the soil, and that is one of the purposes of lawn dressing, which is a mixture of compost and coarse sand. You could also use a finely sieved compost in place of the lawn dressing. But what also helps is to take either a hollow-tine fork, or a large garden fork and push the prongs into the lawn every 20cms or so, as deep as you can and then wiggle it around a little. AFTER doing this, then sprinkle your fertiliser and/or lawn dressing, some of which will fall into the holes, down to the root zone. And when you water, the water will wash into the holes, providing moisture and nutrients where it is most needed. Just BE CAREFUL when you push that fork into the lawn, in case you have irrigation piping under the lawn. Don't pull out any of the long runners. Rather just set your mower as high as possible and it will cut off the runners, and not disturb the roots. Make sure your mower blades are sharp to avoid pulling out the runners by the roots. Or you can lightly cut them off with an edge trimmer.
Dec 31 2014, 06:56 PM
I have planted buffalo grass on a slope in a windy Cape Town garden. It has taken time, but the lawn is now established. I seem to have to water it much more than I expected. If I don't water every two days in the summer, the lawn goes brown. But Buffalo is always advertised as a water wise grass. Am I doing something wrong?
Jan 03 2015, 08:36 PM
Buffalo Grass is definitely a water-wise lawn grass, but this simply means that it requires less water than other lawn grasses e.g. Kikuyu Grass of LM Berea Grass. Around Cape Town you will be ware that we have strong winds in Summer, often until February when they begin to abate. The wind drys out the blades of the lawn grass. The Summers can be very hot too with long dry periods of no rainfall. So it's not surprising that the countryside generally, and lawns in particular, have a brownish look. The fact that you're on a slope could also mean that water is running off rather than penetrating. What sort of watering are you doing? If with a hose pipe, the short intense spray would not have enough time to penetrate. You definitely need to have a sprinkler of sorts, not necessarily an automated system but perhaps one which has a "rose" or one which sprays in an arc, moving from side to side. You also need to check on the water penetration. Do scroll down from here and see the link I've given to Grant Smith - it explains a way of checking on moisture depth.
Jan 04 2015, 04:44 PM
Hi Rod,
Thanks so much. Your answer explains a lot. Especially about the wind drying out the blades of grass. My lawn gets a lot of southeaster, right off the ocean. I am using a hosepipe when the wind is very strong and sprinklers when it's quiet (otherwise the water seems to blow away in a fine spray). When watering with the hose I really try to get the water to penetrate. With the southeaster, the slope and no borehole, maybe I need to just relax about a somewhat brownish summer lawn? Thanks again for the very useful information.
Jan 06 2015, 09:13 AM
Yes, browning of lawns is a natural phenomenon in the Western Cape, unless one spends a lot of time and money on feeding and watering. I was at Newlands Cricket Ground yesterday and saw just how beautiful and green a large expanse of lawn can be at this time of the year, but that takes immense effort, time and personnel. Something you might want to try though is to take a large fork, with long tines, and fork the whole lawn area, leaving the penetration holes. After that, you can sprinkle granular Neutrog Bladerunner some of which will, together with the water, penetrate deeper into the soil where the grass roots live. A good way to regularly get food and water to where it needs to be!
Jan 06 2015, 10:54 AM
Hi Rod,
I have really learnt a lot from you. My lawn is looking better than it ever has before because I have put a lot of effort into it this summer. I will follow all your advice and hopefully be able to maintain it in the future. Thanks again.
Jan 07 2015, 09:34 AM
Your feedback is much appreciated! Gives me wind beneath my wings! Thank YOU!
Dec 30 2014, 01:29 AM
Grant Smith
Hi there I am a noob when it comes to grass, I have Buffalo grass and so far for the years I only give it borehole water every 2nd\ 3rd day for 20min Cycle, for the first time this September I applied Wonder Lawn and Leaf 7:1:3 and WOW it looks and feels good, I really don’t mind spending some Rand on my lawn but what is the best way to fertilize my lawn throughout the year "Which fertilizes to use to prepare it for Winter and Summer ? and when should it be applied ?" Your help will greatly be appreciated.

Cape Town
Jan 03 2015, 07:50 PM
Great to hear a lawn success story - so many people struggle with lawns and weeds! The general recommendation (you will find it repeated many times on the eGardens website) is to water lawns twice a week, but deeply (equivalent to 25mm of rainfall each time), in the mornings. But if you have borehole water there's no problem in watering every second day. The main point is that the water must penetrate deeply, typically to a depth of 10-15cms. Water for as long as it takes to achieve this penetration, which might be longer than your 20 minutes. The general rule for fertilising lawns in the Southern Hemisphere is four times a year, in January, April, July and October. Balanced fertilisers are commonly recommended (focusing on the nitrogen and potassium content). You can use synthetic fertilisers but I usually recommend inorganic refined granulated poultry manure such as Neutrog Bladerunner which is crumbly (rather than in pellet form). I'm giving you a link below with some informative lawn information.
Dec 17 2014, 10:59 PM
Can Buffalo grass survive areas such as free state, bloemfontein?
Dec 19 2014, 11:21 AM
I don't see why Buffalo Grass should not survive in your area. It has significant advantages when compared to Kikuyu Grass - you will see some of those listed in the article. It might go a little yellow during your dry cold Winters, much like Kikuyu Grass would. But you can combat this by making sure that you keep the soil moist during Winter. The accepted regime for feeding is four times a year : January/April/July/October. Feeding is best accomplished using an organic crumbly form of refined pelletised poultry manure, Neutrog BladeRunner. You can sprinkle it around say monthly without any risk of it burning your Buffalo Grass. Buffalo Grass is becoming more and more popular down here in the Western Cape, and I also get a lot of inquiries from people wanting to try it in Gauteng. I think it would do equally well there if properly cared for. Another advantage of Buffalo Grass is its disease resistance.
Dec 10 2014, 11:45 AM
steve gray
Hi there. I live in Franschhoek and have a bit of a lawn fetish! I have bought all my equipment over from the UK, Cylinder mower, scarifier etc. I am planning to take up the existing Kikuyu lawn level it and replace. Am I better off with Bermuda or Buffalo to create a really fine lawn good enough for croquet, putting etc Who would you consider to be the best quality supplier of roll on in the western cape? Thanks Steve
Dec 12 2014, 09:55 AM
Yes, those cylinder mowers, though not commonly used by home gardeners, do give a lovely smooth finish to a lawn! Kikuyu is a VERY deep rooted lawn grass and you will need to be very thorough in your removal procedure. You might want to visit your local Agri Co-Op and ask for a herbicide which will kill it off right down to its deepest roots - and only after that, lift it. There is also a local company, Henchem, which sells herbicides to the agriculture industry. I really don't want to promote herbicides, as some of them are long-lived and extremely toxic, and said to have the same active ingredient(s) as that infamous Agent Orange used for defoliation during the Vietnam War. But as a once-off, they might serve you. Buffalo Grass is far too coarse to be used for croquet or putting. You would be far better off using what you call Bermuda Grass (Cynodon dactylon), also known locally as Bayview. I'm giving you links below to the websites of two suppliers. I have dealt with Master Organics for many years and they know what they are doing. I know about LawnPro but have not had personal experience with them, but their website looks professional. If you call Master Organics, ask to speak to Andre if he is available, and mention that Rod suggested you phone him.You could perhaps ask him if he knows of an effective herbicide to completely remove Kikuyu Grass. Hope this all helps you.
Dec 10 2014, 09:34 AM
Pieter Liebenberg
I am moving to Rayton Gauteng, close to Pretoria. Want to use Buffalo grass for my lawn. Can you recommend this kind of grass or what would you suggest?
Dec 12 2014, 09:31 AM
I would definitely recommend Buffalo Grass. We really should be moving away from Kikuyu Grass which in addition to being invasive, requires plenty of water to stay looking good. Buffalo Grass has so many good characteristics, among them requiring less water than other lawn grasses once established, ability to take traffic, resistance to disease. There is now available a new type of Buffalo Grass called Buffalo Sapphire which is more green, rather than blue/green, and slightly finer in texture - you might want to try for that.
Dec 14 2014, 11:22 AM
Christopher Herbert
Where can I get the Buffalo Sapphire grass (seeds) in the Cape Town area? And can I overseed my existing Buffalo grass with it?
Nov 29 2014, 04:23 PM
I live in Somerset West in the WP in South Africa. Looking for a reliable supplier of Buffalo grass.
Dec 01 2014, 03:09 PM
I'd suggest you try Master Organics. Their phone number is 021-3961066. They do both Buffalo roll-on and plugs trays. They are located on Strandfontein Road in the Phillipi area. Buffalo Grass has become very popular, and rightly so, so they might not always have turf to cut for roll-on. But they are very reputable growers. Unless you want an instant lawn, I'd suggest planting the plugs which ultimately give a firmer and smoother lawn surface. One polystyrene plug tray contains 200 plugs and covers 8-12 m2 depending on planting density. See Master Organic's website below :
Nov 28 2014, 09:29 AM
Ken Wilson
I am looking for a small amount of LM grass 15 sq m. Does anybody know where I can get some? Hope to hear from you soon. Kind RTegards. Ken 074-103-7399.
Dec 01 2014, 09:52 AM
You don't mention where in the country you live. But generally, my advice is to go and speak to the buyer at your closest large retail nursery. He/she will tell you who the local growers are. For what it's worth, I'm not a fan of roll-on lawn. I've seen too many cases of spongy and uneven lawn surfaces. I prefer a firmer more even surface. So I always recommend plugs instead, though one doesn't then get an "instant" lawn. One tray usually contains 200 plugs and covers an area of 8-12 m2 depending on planting density. But here in the Cape Town area you could contact Master Organics, who might be able to assist you with roll-on lawn and/or LM Berea plugs. Failing that, do a Google search for lawn suppliers in your area - I've seen quite a number of such websites and they seem to supply a wide variety of lawn grasses.
Nov 27 2014, 10:41 AM
Can I make a awesome cricket pitch buffalo grass?
Nov 27 2014, 12:20 PM
I'd say that if you use Buffalo Grass, your spin bowlers will have an absolute field day, and your batsmen will not know if the next fast bowler is going to hit them on the knee or the head! It's far too coarse a lawn grass to use on a cricket pitch. The recommended lawn grass down here in the Western Cape is one called Bayview (Cynodon dactylon) - commonly used on cricket pitches, bowling greens and putting surfaces. The Afrikaans word for Bayview is Kaapse Kweek or Blou Kweek (English is Quick Grass). It grows naturally in many places in this country, is hardy and takes traffic well. Some people find it invasive and struggle to get rid of it, but it is the correct choice for your application, and in fact makes a lovely outfield too. Have a look at the link below which has some information on Bayview Grass.
Nov 17 2014, 07:55 AM
I am from Kerala (India). We are planing to do a landscape with bufallo grass. The slope difference is almost 4 feet. So is it good to plan bufallo grass with such a slope? The dimension of the garden is almost 25 Feet * 10 feet. And in our place it use to rain irrespective of any season.
So my question is will the soil loosens and flows down with heavy rain? And how abt the maintanance with the buffalo grass in such places? Will it be able to hold the soil within its roots?
Nov 17 2014, 09:20 AM
I assume your slope of 4ft (just more than 1m in our terms) is lengthwise i.e. the drop is 4ft from one end to the other in the 25ft length? If not, then a 4ft drop in 10ft is very steep both in terms of growing the lawn and for mowing it. Once the lawn is established you might find that you have to mow it using an edge trimmer rather than a lawn mower, which would be too difficult to push. Rainfall throughout the year would benefit any type of lawn grass. You do not mention in what form you would buy your Buffalo Grass. In our country (South Africa) people plant it either as roll-on lawn, also known as instant lawn (sods about 1m X 0.5m) or as plugs (comes in 200 plugs per polystyrene tray, covering 8-12m2). Bearing in mind your slope, I'd definitely recommend roll-on lawn, or otherwise very densely planted plugs (double the density I've mentioned above). Buffalo Grass spreads by surface runners with a very dense but shallow roots system. In my opinion it would hold the soil very well around the roots very well ONCE ESTABLISHED. It would also take traffic very well and not require as much mowing as other lawn grasses, which would be to your advantage. The key for you is going to be to get your lawn established as quickly as possible, so also be very generous in preparation of the soil i.e. plenty of compost, and superphosphate for good strong roots. Below is a link from one of our local suppliers Master Organics with whom I've dealt for many years. It gives a good summary of how to plant and care for Buffalo Grass. I do hope the above helps you with your project! PS I visited the Dera near Beas/Amritsar Northern India in March/April this year, also stayed in New Delhi and visited Jaipur and Agra. Very interesting country and beautiful people!
Nov 03 2014, 04:02 PM
Please give me information on Buffalo grass such as the look, texture etc. Is it closer to Kikuyu, Lm, Golf green, evergreen etc. Also what kind of sensitivities does it have, basically the pros and cons. Can it function full shade or only partly shade. Does it have runners like kikuyu or is it different. We are in the Johannesburg area.
Nov 10 2014, 10:27 AM
The common Buffalo Grass has fairly broad leaf blades, blueish green in colour. A newer variety called Buffalo Sapphire has just come onto the market locally, and this is more green in colour with finer leaf blades - hence matches better with Kikuyu Grass. Buffalo Grass has a firmer texture than Kikuyu Grass. But I do quite often see Buffalo and Kikuyu grass mixed down here in Cape Town, though they do look a bit different in colour and texture. Unlike Kikuyu (which has deep roots and can be very invasive) Buffalo Grass has surface runners so is fairly easy to contain. It does not require as much water as Kikuyu (which is a water-holic). It will grow in up to 60% shade it is said. Virtually all lawn grasses require at least some sunlight for photosynthesis, but if part of your lawn area is say 80% shaded, you will probably need to plant something like LM Berea there. Buffalo Grass takes traffic very well. It does not need to be mowed as frequently as Kikuyu Grass. I receive few reports about pests and disease from people who have Buffalo Grass lawns, so I believe it is less prone to these.
Nov 10 2014, 11:00 AM
Nov 02 2014, 01:29 PM
I live in Durban and have Buffalo Grass in my small garden. Having removed weeds and aerated the soil I now realize that I have patches of brown grass-roots that do not seem to want to grow grass in spite of plenty of watering. Will these grass-roots eventually become green and grow grass again or must I remove them and replant the area? I have not fertilized the grass yet, as I am unsure of what to use, how and in which quantity.
Can you advise?
Nov 11 2014, 10:12 AM
My apologies - I missed your Question among the many I deal with daily, hence this Response only now. Buffalo Grass spreads via surface runners and sets down fairly shallow roots every so often as it spreads. There could be several reasons for parts of the runners dying e.g. competition with the weeds, lack of soil nutrition, too little water in extreme heat etc. It's doubtful that the brown runners will revive and produce green leaf blades. Depending on the extent of the brown mat in places, I'd recommend the following actions : (1) If there are LOTS of brown runners forming a mat which would inhibit anything else from growing there, then one should remove most of these brown runners. If cutting them out using secateurs is too cumbersome, then use a hard rake to lift them up, then mow that area (2) If there is quite a lot of soil area still visible under the brown runners in those places, do what you can to cut out the brown runners, thereby exposing as much soil as possible (3) Lightly work in some finely sieved compost plus some pelletised poultry manure such as Neutrog BladeRunner or SeaMungus into the exposed soil. Then plant some Buffalo Grass plugs into those prepared areas. Keep those areas moist at least until the new areas have covered over. Commonly, lawns are fertilised four times yearly, in January, April, July and October. If your choice is to use a synthetic fertiliser, then go for a slow release (marked SR) balanced fertiliser. Perhaps 5:1:5 or 3:1:5. broadcasting about a small handful per 1m2. More environmentaly friendly, if you can stand the slight odor for a couple of days, would be to use a pelletised poultry manure such as Neutrog BladeRunner or SeaMungus. Just sprinkle handfuls onto the lawn, say about two handfuls per 1m2. Irrespective of which fertiliser you choose, water well afterwards. Always water in the morning, not afternoon or evening. And water say twice weekly and deeply, not more frequently and shallowly.
Oct 13 2014, 04:45 PM
Reinhard Hettasch
Do you know where I could find Buffalo grass for fairly small area in existing garden (where kikuju is dying off due to trees getting bigger and casting some shade on the lawn)?
Oct 13 2014, 06:29 PM
You don't mention where in the country you live. If in the Cape Town area, then most of the retail nurseries stock Buffalo Grass in polystyrene trays of 200 plugs per tray. One tray enables you to plant an area of 8-12m2 depending on how closely you space the plugs. My feedback from other centers within the country is that Buffalo Grass is available in most places, even if you need to travel a bit to a larger town to fetch it. But do go and speak to the buyer at your nearest big retail nursery - it is his job to source products for customers, and he will know where to find it for you.
Oct 07 2014, 11:59 AM
I live in Hoedspruit and want to know which grass is better to plant - LM or Buffalo? Have quite a few big trees in garden in one side of the house and the other side full sun?
Please advise.
Oct 09 2014, 11:44 AM
Both LM Berea Grass and Buffalo Grass will grow in full sun or partial shade. All lawn grasses require some measure of sunlight and as I recall, LM Berea Grass is more shade tolerant (80% shade) while Buffalo Grass will grow in 60% shade. I have seen the odd really nice LM Berea lawn in quite deep shade down here in Cape Town, but I've also seen quite a number of places where it does not grow very vigorously. But of course LM Berea Grass grows well up your way - I've seen it at the rest camps in the Kruger Park. Perhaps your heat does the trick. An important factor is that Buffalo Grass is able to withstand traffic much better than LM Berea Grass. Also, Buffalo Grass requires less watering once established than LM Berea Grass. So...I'd recommend Buffalo Grass, and you could consider interplanting with LM Berea in the more deeply shaded areas. Finally, there is a new type of Buffalo Grass, called Buffalo Sapphire, now available on the market (or at least it is down here in Cape Town). It has finer and greener leaf blades than normal Buffalo Grass (which has broad leaf blades and is grey/green in colour) so it matches better with LM Berea Grass.
Oct 13 2014, 08:28 AM
Thank you so much Rod - will do so. The Buffalo Sapphire sounds divine - but unfortunately availability of anything in this little town is few and far between - just to get the normal Buffalo, we have to get it all the way from Nelspruit - people dont grow grass here (might be an excellent bus opportunity..!)
Oct 03 2014, 12:16 PM
joshua Bowe
i need a quotation for a buffalo grass for our animals in botswana.this is a tender from animal research.if you do not supply please suggest another supplier for or +267-3187193
Oct 05 2014, 12:54 PM
eGardens discontinued selling of plants, trees and lawn grass several months ago. But I will try tomorrow to provide you with telephone numbers of two local (Cape Town) growers of Buffalo Grass. When you speak with them please tell them that eGardens supplied you with their information as a courtesy.
Sep 26 2014, 03:01 PM
Hi there,
I want to plant buffalo grass in the harsh weather conditions of Agulhas near the sea on very raw sandy soil. It will be a few small areas. What would you recommend the best method is for going about this? Bringing in topsoil? fertilizing? seed or runners?
Sep 26 2014, 08:21 PM
First prize would be to replace the sandy soil with top soil but that is not essential. You could for example bring in some top soil and then mix it with the sandy soil. Or you could dig plenty of compost into the sandy soil, at the same time incorporating fertiliser, either synthetic 2:3:4 or organic pelletised poultry manure such as one of the Neutrog products. Buffalo seed is virtually unobtainable, and I would personally recommend that you go for Buffalo plugs. It typically comes in plug trays of 200 plugs, with one tray covering 8-12m2. Keep the newly planted lawn moist and as traffic-free as possible for 6-8 weeks. Hope this helps you...
Sep 23 2014, 06:20 PM
Can you please advise which is the best lawn grass to plant in Cape Town - to give the best looking lawn as well as being easy to maintain as well as being pest resistant. - tokai area.
Sep 24 2014, 11:33 AM
Here's the spin, in my own view and in a nutshell : Kikuyu is a water-holic grass, and needs regular watering to stay green and lush. It spreads quickly but is definitely invasive i.e. it will dive into flower beds if not carefully controlled. It is the grass with which I have seen most evidence of problems e.g. rust spots, lawn caterpillar. Buffalo Grass is more water-wise than Kikuyu Grass, and takes traffic a little better. It is a surface spreading grass (Kikuyu has deep roots). But it takes a little longer than Kikuyu to cover an area, unless you go the roll-on route. Buffalo roll-on is more expensive than Kikuyu, but planting Buffalo plugs results eventually in a more firm, less spongy mat. And more level. Buffalo will also tolerate some semi-shade, which Kikuyu does not. Plugs are sold in trays of 200 plugs, and a tray covers an area of 8-12m2. The other lawn grass is LM Berea but I honestly haven't seen concrete evidence that it would serve you better than Buffalo, unless you have a lot of shade where the LM Berea would do well. One other grass comes to mind : Bermuda (known locally as Kweek) - often used on cricket/hockey outfields, but as invasive as Kikuyu. Quite recently a new variety of Buffalo, called Buffalo Sapphire came onto the local market. I was told that Shadowlands Nursery is growing it and supplying to local retail nurseries. It is a more green,soft and fine variety of Buffalo (which is usually quite firm and blue/grey). You might want to phone Shadowlands at 021-9030050 and ask them about it. Finally any lawn will look good if cared for properly i.e. regular watering, feeding and mowing. And tackling any pests or diseases promptly. When planting, follow planting procedures meticulously. And absolutely minimise traffic on the lawn for 6-8 weeks after planting. Phew!
Sep 11 2014, 10:36 AM
I am in Richards bay, northern KZN and have a very sandy patch of land with a lot of shade an I am battling to grow grass there. We are right on the coast line so the ground is very loose. I am looking for something to plant there also to help with keeping the earth stable. Are there any types of grass or shrubs suitable for this area as I am worried with some heavy rain it will just wash all the earth away
Sep 15 2014, 05:22 PM
I asked my landscaping friend about your Question as he previously lived in the Durban area for a good number of years. His immediate recommendation was that you should plant Kearsney Grass (Axonopus compressus). It grows in shade, and also in poor sandy soils. Once that has established itself and stabilised your soil you can consider planting shade loving sand and salt tolerant flowering shrubs.
Aug 31 2014, 07:47 AM
Where in Johannesburg can I buy buffalo grass. Danie
Sep 02 2014, 08:38 AM
Kindly scroll down from here and see my Response to Gerry Schoombie, who had a similar request, but for Buffalo runners. eGardens is now a reference-only website, no longer sells plants, trees and lawn grass, but is able to arrange landscaping in the Cape Town metropole. In short you will need to visit a large local retail nursery and try to source your Buffalo plugs through their buyer. Judging by the demand for Buffalo on the Highveld I'd be very surprised if there was no local grower for the Johannesburg market.
Sep 03 2014, 09:51 PM
Thanks so much.
Aug 20 2014, 08:19 PM
Gerry Schoonbee
Where can we get the runners in the Sandton area?
Aug 21 2014, 11:17 AM
eGardens is now a reference-only website, but when we were supplying lawn grass it was only within the Cape Town metropolitan area. So unfortunately we didn't ever have a specific lawn grass supplier in your area. But what I suggest you do is speak to the buyer of one of your large retail nurseries. He will be able to tell you who is supplying the Buffalo plug trays which he buys in. And that supplier will be producing his plugs by rooting cuttings from Buffalo lawn. It is therefore possible that the supplier will be prepared to sell you some rooted runners. But frankly, a Buffalo lawn planted from plugs almost always gives a much smoother and firmer lawn than does Roll-on or runners. You would need one plug tray per 8-12 m2.
Aug 14 2014, 07:47 AM
Hi - I live in Johannesburg. During winter I watered my LM Berea lawn sporadically and it now has some bare patches. I also live in a complex and the maintenance teams mowed it a little too short. Please can you suggest some ways to see better regrowth as we enter into summer. Fertilser suggestions? Watering regularity? Your assistance will be appreciated.
Aug 15 2014, 01:48 PM
LM Berea can be damaged by Winter frost, but it recovers in the Spring. So up your way, it's still a little early for it to be growing new grass blades. Lawns should generally be watered twice a week when there has been no rainfall. It is said that each watering session should equate to 25 mm i.e. 1 inch of rain. Depending on when in the day you watered your lawn, there could have been insufficient time for evaporation of water off the blades of the grass, assisting to produce more frost. So water in the morning if you can. LM Berea does best in warm subtropical climates, and in rich loamy soil, so Johannesburg is not its ideal home. But it should grow there, especially if given enough water during dry times. Regarding feeding, you can feed four times a year with slow release fertiliser. If you prefer to go the organic route and are not averse to a slight odor for a day or two you may sprinkle a pelletised poultry manure e.g. Neutrog BladeRunner say every month. And finally, ensure that your LM Berea lawn is never cut to less than 30 mm blade length in the sunny areas and 40 mm in shady areas.
Aug 04 2014, 08:52 PM
Francois Lombard
I am looking for buffalo grass seed.
Western Cape
Aug 05 2014, 08:51 AM
Please scroll down from here and have a look at my Response to Bernie, who also asked me about Buffalo Grass seed. To cut a long story short though, Buffalo Grass seed appears to be unobtainable locally, but you might be able to find some via one of the seed specialist companies who list their products on the Internet. The best alternative to seed in my view is Buffalo plugs.
Jul 15 2014, 02:28 PM
Sorry my question should have been where can I buy Buffalo Grass plant plugs or runners (Durban)?
Jul 15 2014, 04:09 PM
Unfortunately eGardens does not have information regarding Buffalo and other lawn grass growers in your area. But you could try either (1) speaking directly to the buyer at your biggest retail nursery to see if he can source them for you or (2) check your Yellow Pages (or the Internet) for lawn grass growers in your area. I recall there being growers of rooted cuttings and other plant plugs a little inland of Durban, I think around Pietermaritzburg (might have been called Ornamentals) - try them. I THINK they also did lawn grass plugs. If they can't supply you, then they will probably be able to refer you to someone who could. The Buffalo plugs are more easy to work with than the runners, and the former are generally more readily available too.
Jul 09 2014, 09:15 AM
can i use clay soil to level the ground before planting buffalo grass can i plant it now in winter i staying in cape town
Jul 09 2014, 12:26 PM
If your soil has very fine particles, it would be classed as clay soil. Since there is very little air space between the particles, drainage of water from clay soil is poor, which could lead to the roots of your lawn rotting. Clay soil can be perfectly nutritious, but you would need to mix other components with it to cause it to be more loose e.g. coarse compost. Sometimes people mix washed river sand with the clay as it has coarse grains. There is also a product called Gardener's Gold Dust available at retail nurseries which is an organic soil conditioner containing gypsum and seaweed flakes, excellent for clay soils - see the following website :
And rather delay planting your Buffalo Grass until October or so, when the weather will be warmer. You could begin preparing the soil between now and then.
Jun 23 2014, 03:39 PM
Nadine Steyn
Hi, we live in Pretoria and planted buffalo grass spring last year (2013). With the unusual high rainfall in March the grass were damaged (we suspect rot as our soil does not drain very fast / well). Ever since the grass has not returned to its former glory even though we have fertilized and water very regularly. Is the frost perhaps to blame?

Unrelated to the above our local nursery advised that we should under no circumstances use topsoil on buffalo - is this really true? We planted plugs and with the time taken to grow and with regular weeding the soil is not level anymore. How should we go about getting the lawn level again?
Jul 10 2014, 09:38 AM
I must say I've never come across Buffalo Grass being top dressed. It has surface runners, as opposed to Kikuyu Grass which is very deep rooted. So logic tells me that covering it completely would just kill it. And being a surface grass, I could also understand frost damaging it, more so than Kikuyu Grass which might die at the surface but retain some life lower down. But you are still faced with an uneven lawn, and I suggest you consider the following options. You could consider using a roller, depending on the size and slope of your lawn. I very rarely came across this approach over many years. But it is something which is done to produce lovely level bowling greens and cricket pitches. Probably too much of a mission for you? Or you could JUDICIOUSLY even out the "potholes". Over a period of time just fill in the indentations. Cover the actual Buffalo Grass as little and as lightly as possible. You don't have to use topsoil. You can instead use washed river sand. Water well after application to settle the top soil in. Over time that might also help with the drainage of the lawn. And remember that it is better to water your lawn less frequently, but deeply (rather than frequently but very shallowly).
Jun 22 2014, 02:01 PM
Ken Thompson
Hi, I am wanting to rehabilitate my lawn and get it looking good as I am building a new house and want the old one to look it,s best for potential purchasers. The move will only take place next June - building time of 11 months. I also do not want to spend an arm and a leg as we would rather spend more on the new houses lawn. Please be so kind as to advise me before I go out and waste money on products and fertilizers swell as water that may be incorrect
Jun 22 2014, 03:25 PM
You don't mention where in the country you live. You would certainly have a better chance of a green lawn in June if you live in the Winter rainfall region of the Western Cape! But wherever you live, you would need to give your lawn special attention during Spring and Summer. No point really in starting to feed at the present time of the year (mid Winter). As a general principle, a healthy lawn will be a good looking lawn, free of disease. And for good health, the lawn will need to receive regular feeding and watering. I recommend that you scroll down from here and read through some of the relevant advice I have given in Responses to Questions from other people - there have been LOTS of lawn related Questions! You can also look in the eGardens Library section for the article Your Healthy Lawn Grass Guide. If I were you, I'd probably top dress the lawn lightly twice, once in September/October and again in March/April. I'd also feed say six weekly by sprinkling pelletised poultry manure e.g. Neutrog BladeRunner (if you can handle the odour for a day or two after application). Without knowing your water situation, I'd water say every 3 days deeply (not every day lightly). Water in the early part of the day, not late afternoon or during the night. Watch out for lawn diseases e.g. rust and spray before they become difficult to treat. Check for lawn caterpillar in January/February although they seldom attack Buffalo lawns, in my experience. Try your best to keep your lawn weeded, and spray with a herbicide when necessary. Allow the blades of grass to remain quite long when mowing, to provide protection of the roots from hot sun, and also to give a slightly thicker and more visually appealing green mat. Hope the above helps you in some way, and that you are successful in selling at a good price! A good looking lawn and garden is very often a catalyst in selling!
Jun 23 2014, 03:50 PM
Rod, thanks for the advise. Can you advise where to buy buffalo grass runners in pretoria ?


Jun 23 2014, 04:55 PM
Unfortunately eGardens does not keep track of Buffalo Grass stockists in any part of the country. I would advise that you just visit one of the bigger retail nurseries around Pretoria and speak to the buyer who deals with growers on a weekly basis, to see if he can get Buffalo runners for you. I always thought that plugs were easier to work with, and are usually more readily available than runners. Or look in your Yellow Pages for local lawn grass growers. Alternatively go onto the Internet and Google something like "lawn grass buffalo pretoria", then contact any growers which come up. Good luck!
Jun 13 2014, 08:36 PM
When can one top dress lawns on the Highveld. Johannesburg south africa
Jun 15 2014, 12:45 PM
Top dressing is usually done on the Highveld at the beginning of the lawn growth period, August and September. Scarifying, the shaving of the lawn right down to expose the underlying soil is done when the lawn is dormant and ahead of its active growth.
Jun 03 2014, 12:24 PM
Erika Viljoen
We are renting a home near Stellenbosch and the garden has a large Buffalo lawn. How often should it be watered in summer? The owner has been watering it almost daily and it's so expensive, which does not seem to be the point of having Buffalo! It has gone brown in some spots during the summer, can this be revived? Thanks!
Jun 26 2014, 12:05 PM
Yes, Buffalo Grass is not supposed be as much a waterhollic as Kikuyu Grass. But your Buffalo lawn will still require some watering especially during the hot Summer months here in the Western Cape. You would presumably know that, unlike on the Highveld, lawns here are green in Winter, and brown in Summer if not kept well watered! As a general rule, one should water lawns deeply and less frequently (say every 3 days), rather than lightly and every day. Light watering will not move moisture to the root zone and will also encourage evaporation. The brown spots, unless the result of some sort of disease (or dog wee!) could perhaps be "revived" by throwing down some Neutrog BladeRunner pelletised poultry manure every few weeks.
May 19 2014, 07:29 PM
Hi All,

Yesterday (18/05/2014) I planted Baffalo Grass Plugs (fairly close to one another. I used 3 trays to cover around 11sqm. The ground was fairly well prepped with compost after removing the kikuyu grass. I watered yesterday as well as this evening. My gardener said the buffalo will take long to grow ( I am prepared to wait) however I want to ensure a beautiful full blanket of grass in a few months. Any tips for rapid growth and feeding of the young plugs at this stage?
I'm based in Wynberg, Cape Town.
Jun 24 2014, 12:51 PM
By the sounds of things, you have done everything according to the book, and given your Buffalo Grass the best chance to grow. Just two comments : (1) It is said that one should only plant lawn grass "when it's warm enough to wear short pants". That means September/October down here in the Cape. Lawn grass will not grow actively here in Winter, though it will survive until Spring/Summer (2) Generally, Buffalo can take 6-9 months to completely cover if you are using 1 plug tray (200 plugs) for 8-12 m2. You have planted your Buffalo plugs quite densely which was a good idea for quicker coverage. Apart from exercising patience, you can throw down a little pelletised poultry manure e.g. Neutrog BladeRunner every couple of weeks - no chance of burning the roots of the new plugs that way.
Apr 19 2014, 03:19 PM
From Mitchells Plain.I do got a lot off white sand in my garden,i want to plant buffelo grass.Where can i buy plugs or runners and where do i buy Neutrog Bladerunner.
Jun 17 2014, 12:31 PM
Sorry to take so long to respond to your Question - I've been "out of action" until recently, so there's a big backlog! I am familiar with the typical Cape Flats soil. You will need to make sure that you prepare the area well with plenty of good quality compost, plus a handful of superphosphate per square meter. You can also throw down some Neutrog BladeRunner. I'd suggest using Buffalo Grass plugs as they are already properly rooted. You can buy them direct from Master Organics whose site is in the Phillipi area, off Strandfontein Road. You can also buy Neutrog BladeRunner direct from the Phillipi farmers co-op (I think they're now called Agri). Master Organics will give you directions to Agri, which is actually quite close to Macro. And finally, it's generally recommended to only plant lawn grass in the Western Cape "when it's warm enough to wear short pants" which is usually around October down here! If you plant during Winter, don't expect to see any active growth. Hope this helps you!
Apr 16 2014, 01:36 PM
Where can I purchase Buffalo Seed?

Jun 13 2014, 12:04 PM
I do from time to time get asked this question. I followed up with one of our local growers of Buffalo Grass who told me that Buffalo seed is unobtainable locally. Not sure if this is strictly true. I do know that there are specialist seed companies on the Internet, and I think I did see some which sold Buffalo Grass seed. But you can expect to pay a premium price as the most common way to grow a Buffalo lawn is to plant plugs or runners. Buffalo roll-on is expensive relative to Kikuyu, and anyway the plugs ultimately result in a firmer and more level lawn. With the seed comes the problem of germination rate, whereas with plugs one receives them already well rooted. But perhaps seed is the only way to go if you wish to grass a large area. I hope this at least gives you some food for thought!
Apr 16 2014, 12:23 PM
Alistair Marshall
Can I plant plugs of LM grass now (late April) on the Highveld (Midrand) where there is sometimes light frost, or should I wait 'till spring? -Plugs planted 3 years ago have done very well.
Jun 13 2014, 11:43 AM
At last I'm getting to your question! So sorry it's taken so long - a big backlog after being out of action since end of March! One of the very wise lawn grass growers here in the Cape Town area says " don't plant Buffalo Grass plugs until you can comfortably wear short pants and not get cold". The same applies I believe to LM Grass plugs. So, wait until it gets warmer up your way. Having lived in the Pretoria area for most of my early life, I think that means waiting until at least September before planting. LM plugs, as is the case with Buffalo plugs can take quite a while to cover an area but provided you have prepared the area well and keep the area moist, your efforts should be well rewarded. In my experience LM Grass does better in partial to full shade. Here in Cape Town it seems to grow better in the cooler wetter months of Winter. I don't often see LM Grass but some years ago I came across a fantastic looking LM lawn underneath a tree in quite deep shade. So it's great to hear that you too have had success with LM Grass!
Jun 13 2014, 04:30 PM
Alistair Marshall
Dear Rod
Many thanks for your information on when to plant LM grass on the Highveld. I'm glad I can put it off for a while! Hope you are well - best wishes.
Apr 16 2014, 06:15 AM
I am considering starting a roll on lawn business in Wellington in Cape Town and need advice on soil preparation, the most cost effective planting method etc, could you recommend a consultant in CapeTown?
Jun 13 2014, 11:25 AM
I've had a big backlog of questions after being out of action since end of March - sorry! It's unlikely in my view that any of the local growers of roll-on lawn would share their expertise with you as you would become competition for their own product. So I've tried to think "outside the box" to come up with some possible actions : (1) Contact the Cape Technicon who run courses in horticulture generally but also allow students to specialise in turf management. You might get hold of a lecturer who is willing to do a consultation for you, or they might know of a recent student who could help you (2) I'm pretty sure there is a Turf Management Association in South Africa. Get their contact details off the Internet, and they might well be able to give you the necessary guidance (3) Have you tried the Department of Agriculture, since you will effectively be farming with lawn grass? (4) Contact SALI (the South African Landscaping Institute) who might point you in the right direction, or have the information you require (5) Google the Internet with such keywords as "turf soil preparation planting". I've come across some excellent websites which have very detailed information, freely available, and you might well find the guidance you seek there. I do hope this helps you in some way to get started!
Apr 02 2014, 08:13 PM
What is best for weed control on buffalo lawn in Nelsprui
Jun 10 2014, 04:28 PM
Buffalo Grass is a broad leaf grass and lawn weed herbicides often target broad leaf weeds, hence some are unsuitable for use on Buffalo lawns. NEVER use a lawn weed herbicide unless its package insert states that it is safe to use with Buffalo Grass. Generally, a lawn weed herbicide with active ingredients MCPA or Bromoxynil is safe to use with Buffalo Grass, while one with active ingredient Dicamba should NEVER be used with Buffalo Grass. So whatever brands your local nursery stocks, check the packaging inserts carefully to determine suitability for use on your Buffalo lawn. Some other rules apply to spraying for lawn weeds : (1) use the exact ratio of herbicide to water as stated in the packaging insert (2) repeat spraying if necessary after two weeks as more weed seeds might have germinated and/or weeds might need a second "coating" (3) never spray less that one week after cutting as open wounds on the blades of grass absorb the herbicide more easily (4) never mow less than one week after spraying as the weeds need time to properly absorb the herbicide and (5) feed and water your lawn well for at least two weeks before spraying to boost its health and maximise its defence against the herbicide you will use for the weeds.
Mar 29 2014, 07:59 AM
Hi,I recently fertilized my bright green buffalo grass and had 3 days of grass went brown all over after the first day of sunshine. Please advise,much appreciated.thank you
Jun 10 2014, 01:30 PM
My apologies for taking so long to respond - I've been out of action since late March. From the facts you give, it's only possible to guess what might be the problem. High nitrogen fertilisers e.g. LAN are known to easily burn a lawn. Generally, fertilisers can burn a lawn if insufficient water is applied to wash the fertiliser in (diluting it and thereby reducing its electrical conductivity, the "salts" in the solution). But you say you did have three days of rain. Was that during application of the fertiliser, or was there a period where fertiliser burn could have occurred before the rains came? Was here enough rain to have completely flooded the roots of the Buffalo, leaving no aeration and susceptibility to rot? Warm but moist conditions can also result in rust or other fungal diseases on the blades of the grass. Impossible to diagnose without close inspection. You could try a copper based spray if you suspect rust. Conditions may have changed markedly since you posted your question, and I always recommend patience with lawns, rather than assuming the worst. Good luck!
Mar 27 2014, 10:57 PM
I am in pietermaritzburg kzn and I planted buffalo using plugs on 06 march. I started by turning the soil and removing old grass with weeds. I then puy on super phosphate, agriculture lime, 411 with gaba spray and farmyard compost. The sun is so hot with little rain, do I have to water everyday. Can I add more compost?
Jun 10 2014, 01:10 PM
So sorry to only respond to your question now - I've been incapacitated since late March. From what you mention, the planting procedure you have used is fine. Provided the farmyard compost is well broken down (mineralised) there is no harm in adding more. Just ensure that you do not completely cover the plugs. Keeping the soil constantly moist is vital for the growth of newly planted Buffalo plugs. You can't do anything about the hot sun. Make sure there is always moisture content in the soil (dig down with your finger). Rather than watering lightly every day, I would recommend that you water deeply every two or three days. Hope this gets your lawn growing - just have patience as a Buffalo lawn planted from plugs can take more than six months to cover properly!
Mar 17 2014, 04:15 PM
Giselle Lourenco
Good day Rod,

I hope that all is well.

Please advise if E-Gardens will be able to assist me with an urgent quotation for the following:

Buffalo grass seeds (for 120 hectares)
Rhodes grass seeds (for 120 hectares)
Lucerne grass seeds (for 120 hectares)

Kindly advise on stock availability and delivery time.
Quotation deadline: 17/03/2014

Your prompt response will be greatly appreciated.

Thank you.
Giselle Lourenco
Procurement Officer

12 Diesel Road – Isando 1601
P.O.Box 892 – Isando 1600
Johannesburg, South Africa
Phone: +27 (11) 392 3664 / +27 (11) 966 9280
Skype: giselle.lourenco1

“Do Something Worth Remembering”
Please consider the environment before printing this e-mail
Jun 02 2014, 12:47 PM
Well, I sure missed that quotation deadline by a mile! My apologies, but I've been out of action since end of March. I would not have been able to help you though as we only had access to Buffalo Grass in plug form, and Rhodes Grass has never been available through us. However, I see there are in fact quite a few grass seed local suppliers listed on the Internet - they seem to stock seed of both Buffalo and Rhodes. And their sites provide technical information on coverage rates, coated versus plain seed, best months to sow etc. So I suggest you check out those websites if appropriate. And please note that eGardens is now only a reference website (a high profile one at that!) and related products are no longer sold directly via our website. We do intend to become a referal "conduit" for growers of selected products e.g. trees, grass plugs, blueberries. I hope the above helps you in some way!
***eGardens recently introduced a landscaping and consulting service via a local landscaper
Feb 25 2014, 09:21 AM
Leon Michaels
To whom it may concern, thank you for an excellent website.

I notice that there is another kind of grass growing between my buffalo grass. Its has a thin strand, and appears fluffy. The roots run deep, and is very difficult to remove as it snaps off easily. I am told that the buffalo grass will eventually crowd out the weed like grass, Is this true ? If not, are there other ways of removing this grass beside manually removing them, (which is almost impossible) ?
Feb 26 2014, 10:33 AM
Without actually seeing your "other" grass, I would guess from your description of it that it could be Cape Kweek/Quick. This grass does have a thin and quite tough runner. It is not as deeply invasive as Kikuyu, but it nevertheless dives down below the surface. My father always said that Kweek on its own, if it is properly fed and watered makes a lovely firm lawn (exactly what you would want for say a cricket outfield). I've seen many lawns in Cape Town where Kweek has mixed in successfully with both Buffalo and Kikuyu. Both the latter by their nature (rapid growth, large leaf blade size etc.) would I believe make the Kweek less and less visible. I do not know of any herbicide which would target ONLY the Kweek and not impact on the other grass (the leaf-blades of Kweek are quite narrow). But don't stress about the Kweek being difficult to eradicate - I suggest you just let it co-exist with the Buffalo.
Feb 26 2014, 11:15 AM
Leon Michaels
Thank you for your advice Rod...Much appreciated.

The area the Cape Quick (CQ) has infiltrated is not a large area. Would you advise me to try and remove the CQ manually, or is it an exercise in futility ?

What would be the steps I need to take to remove the CQ, and not hurt or damage the buffalo grass? (Southfield/Plumstead
Feb 26 2014, 11:32 AM
Should you decide to remove the Kweek, it would not be an exercise in futility - even if some remained in the ground, the Buffalo would have an opportunity to cover the area more quickly. I would use a small "womens' size" fork - not a hand fork, to loosen the soil to a depth of 10-15cms, then try to pull the Kweek out by hand. If you rather decide to process the entire small area, then use the fork to work through the soil, gently removing all the Buffalo runners so that you can replant them immediately again, when all the Kweek has been discarded. Definitely feed with Neutrog SeaMungus and water well afterwards.
Feb 26 2014, 12:05 PM
Leon Michaels
Thanks Rod...
Feb 23 2014, 06:02 PM
Hi there, I need advice on how to cut my baffle lawn. We planted new buffalo (roll on) in Sept'13. My garden service cut it to short and it got burnt by the son. Please advice
Big Bay, Cape Town
Feb 24 2014, 04:57 PM
A landscaping colleague of mine who has often laid roll-on lawns always tells his clients not to even walk on the new lawn for the first two months, and certainly not to mow it for that period. A bit radical in my view... However you will have noted that Cape Town has experienced a long very hot and windy Summer - not very conducive to lovely green lawns. Of course mowing the lawn simply takes away the cover which protects the roots from the sun. But don't give up. Simply stop mowing your lawn for a while until the blades of grass get a bit longer. Wait until say April when it gets cooler before you mow it shorter. If you MUST mow for neatness sake, then cut it at the absolute highest setting on your mower. And do what you can to keep the soil and roots moist - preferably water every second day, quite deeply. And be patient - your lawn should recover and get greener as we get into Winter!
Feb 25 2014, 08:21 AM
Thank you Rod for the feedback
Feb 21 2014, 09:43 AM
Mary Farrell
Will have small lawn area in full sun and some light shade in Vermont. Will Buffalo Grass be suitable to grow in a coastal area? Is it as invasive as Kikuyu?
Feb 23 2014, 04:48 PM
Buffalo Grass certainly does grow in coastal areas, and your stated conditions of mainly sun plus some light shade are quite suitable. It is definitely not invasive since it is a surface grass, and unlike Kikuyu does not send its runners down deep.
Feb 24 2014, 07:59 AM
Thanks very much. You have a fantastic web site.
Feb 18 2014, 07:35 PM
Thanks for a great website.

I live in the Crawford area and have very sandy, dry soil. I have planted buffalo lawn using the plugs on 26 Jan 2014.

Prior to planting the buffalo lawn my soil was dead and there were only dead grass and weeds growing. I pulled out all the weeds and grass and applied compost which I bought at Stodels.

It’s 3 weeks now and the lawn is growing slowly and steadily.

Which fertiliser should I apply now and how often? I am not sure whether 713 is the correct choice. I bought a tub of 713 almost 3 years ago. The container is still sealed. Can I still use this?

Which fertilser do I use in autumn and winter?

How often should I water my garden and for how long?

Thank you in advance for your help!

Feb 19 2014, 03:12 PM
Most composts supplied in the Cape Town area are not fully mineralised i.e. they will not have been broken down properly during the composting process into minerals which can easily be dissolved in water and hence made available through the roots of your plugs. So composting does not fully equate to feeding. It follows that you will need to apply a fertiliser to the lawn area. You may as well use up the 7:1:3 (the ratio of Nitrogen to Phosphorus to Potassium) as you already have it. Sprinkle say a handful over every 1m2. Make sure to water well afterwards as you want to dilute the fertiliser, preventing it from burning the lawn. Thereafter you could occasionally sprinkle peletised poulty manure e.g. Neutrog BladeRunner and water that in well. You may continue this regime through Autumn and Winter, say once a month. You have unwittingly probably planted you plugs at about the worst time, considering the excessive heat and wind which Cape Town has experienced of late. So just try to keep the whole planted area constantly moist. Probably watering every second day, quite deeply will suffice. Many many Cape Town lawns are brownish beige at present due to sun and wind burn, plus lack of moisture. Just do your best for now, and wait for April onwards and its cooler weather. I'm sure your lawn will green up and begin actively growing during the Winter.
Feb 20 2014, 01:02 PM
Hi Rod,
I have read on your website that I could apply a weak solution of ammonium sulphate to my newly planted buffalo lawn. Taking your earlier advice into account and bearing in mind that I have used bone meal when planting can I still do this?
In the long run when I eventually run out of 713, which fertiliser would you suggest I use in the Autumn/ Winter and Spring/ Summer periods?
Thank you
Feb 20 2014, 01:59 PM
Ammonium sulphate synthetic fertiliser would contain roughly 21% nitrogen and 24% sulphur. So it is a good source of nitrogen. Bone meal is organic and breaks down very slowly so there would be no problem in their mutual use. Take into account the typical Cape Town seasonal weather. You could use any synthetic high nitrogen fertiliser in Winter when there is less chance of the lawn getting burnt and there is general presence of moisture, including rain. And of course that is also when lawns seems to grow more actively in Cape Town. But be careful of using synthetic fertilisers in Summer, unless you water very well afterwards. You should perhaps rather sprinkle an organic fertiliser such as Neutrog BladeRunner which won't burn the grass. And maybe you should rather use the Neutrog throughout the year as it is far more environment-friendly and just as nutritious.
Mar 20 2014, 05:42 PM
Hi Rod,

My buffalo lawn is growing steadily after planting the plugs 7 weeks ago. After week 4 I applied 7:1:3. I accidentally applied too much of this fertiliser. I now have a few yellow grass blades and a small patch where the grass seem to have dried out. Is there any way that I can remedy this situation?
I also have a bedding area of 6,5 metres in lenghth and 1.5 metres in width in the corner of my garden. I would like to use this bedding area for plants with a height of 1 to 1,5 metres. This can include some plants with glossy leaves. Do you have any suggestions?
I reside in the Crawford area.
Thanks for your help!
Jun 09 2014, 11:34 AM
I have had a HUGE backlog of questions, due to my being out of action since late March - so sorry to only get to your question now! As I write this we are well into Winter here in Cape Town. But the advice I would have given you in March would have been to just water well to dilute your excessive concentration of fertiliser. This would have allowed the Buffalo to recover. Your options for the dried out patch would have been to try to revive it by spreading some well broken down (mineralised) compost over that area or, to have removed the dried out Buffalo and replanted with Buffalo plugs or runners. Regarding your bedding area, it is very difficult to comment as I do not know whether that part of your garden is in sun or shade. I also don't know if your preference is for flowers or foliage, or both. When landscaping, it's important to plant the larger shrubs towards the back and smaller ones towards the front edge. There's a HUGE number of different shrubs which could be used so I'll just give my own preferences, for sun and for shade. So, if the bed faces any direction other than South, try : Salvia leucantha, Heliotrope Florence Nightingale or Royal Marine (Cherry Pie), Margaret Robert's or French Grey lavender, Euryops pectinatus (Resin Bush), Gaura lindheimeri (Butterfly Bush), roses, Polygala Petite (Dwarf Sweetpea Bush), Barleria Purple Prince, *Coprosma (Mirror Bush), Felicia daisies (Blue Daisy), Gazanias, Agapanthus dwarf. For a South facing bed, try Hydrangea (Christmas Flower), *Camelia, Fuchsia, Hemerocallis (Day Lily), *Acanthus mollis (Wild Asparagus). The shrubs marked with an * have glossy leaves. I haven't mentioned the grasses or ground covers generally - suggest you go and see these at your local nursery. Hope this helps you!
Jun 09 2014, 01:58 PM
Thank you Rod. Much appreciated.
Nov 26 2014, 02:08 PM
Hi Rod,

I reside in the Crawford area. My Buffallo lawn is now 10 months old. I planted the plugs in January. After steady growth I accidentally applied too much 713 in February. I now have dead grass in between the buffalo which is dull green in apperance. I applied blade runner last month taking care not to over fertilise. What can I do to remedy the situation? I thought about applying lawn dressing or a mixture of riversand with compost or just compost to the dead grass areas. Any suggestions?
Nov 30 2014, 04:42 PM
I see this is a continuation of your saga reported earlier this year. Over-fertilising would have burnt your grass (too concentrated a solution of fertiliser) and too much nitrogen as in 7:1:3 makes for too rapid, soft growth if thorough watering does not happen after application. I think your only way forward is to water well and deeply, equivalent to 25mm of rainfall each time, in the early mornings. Standard procedure. And this is particularly important right now, in the middle of Summer. This is your best chance - diluting the fertiliser present in the soil. I would not recommend applying any more fertiliser, even Neutrog BladeRunner right now - wait until your lawn shows signs of recovery. The only other thing I can suggest, if you have the enthusiasm is to try to lift those dry pieces up a bit with a hard rake, then mow them off, followed by plain compost (which won't burn the lawn) into those bare patches. You can also stick in some more Buffalo Grass plugs there.
Dec 03 2014, 02:32 PM
Thanks Rod
Feb 17 2014, 12:59 PM
My Grass has developed brown spots or a funge
Feb 17 2014, 02:37 PM
Please go to the eGardens Library section article "Your Healthy Lawn Grass Guide". Look at the Question/Response part and scroll down until you find my reply to Mandy van der Merwe who reported a similar problem to yours. You will find a reference to an informative website on lawn maintenance as well as my suggestion for spraying your lawn with a copper based pesticide only if all else fails. You should then have a clearer picture of what you can do to tackle your lawn problem!
Feb 13 2014, 07:25 PM
Leon Michaels
Good day to you, hope you are all good. I reside in the Southfield/Plumstead area. I was informed that, when mowing the lawn, that it is ok to throw the freshly mowed grass clippings over the area where the grass is growing slower in the shady area (taking care not too do it too thickly) and watering regularly? Will this aid growth ? Will it fertilize the soil ? WIll it also prevent the soil from drying out too quickly ? Or should I stop this practice ?
Feb 16 2014, 02:11 PM
Although one does get "mulch mowers" which do not blow the grass clippings into the collection box (they rather get chopped up very finely and thrown back onto the lawn), I would not throw the clippings onto those bare areas. Apart from the fact that the clippings can form a mat, the process of them breaking down actually REMOVES nitrogen from the soil, a macro element essential for lush green growth. That is the reason why makers of good compost will often add high nitrogen materials (sometimes even sysnthetic) to compost heaps to start the composting process. So, the clippings will NOT fertilise the soil - they will at best keep the grass roots cool and somewhat moist (but they will be in your shade areas anyway). Rather add the clippings to your compost heap. And then use the resultant well-broken-down compost to feed those sparsely growing areas of your lawn. You can also throw down some peletised poultry manure - I'm currently recommending Neutrog SeaMungus. Hope the above helps you...!
Feb 17 2014, 02:40 PM
Leon Michaels
@ Rod, thank you for taking the time to respond to my questions. The clippings have done exactly as you said. It has formed a mat... Will do as you have suggested... and, Will start a compost heap just as soon as I can buy a bin ... or do you have any suggestions on a compost heap that does not require a bin? Once again thank you for the information.. It is much appreciated.
Feb 17 2014, 03:17 PM
Ok...this tells me that I must publish a "Making Compost" article in the eGardens Library section! To get you started, before the article is published, you do not need a purchased bin. The general rule is that you need a 1mX1mX1m enclosure (1m3), closed on three sides by wire or shade cloth. Try to place it in an out-of-the-way spot in the shade e.g. underneath a tree. Throw all your garden refuse EXCEPT weeds, thick branches, onion skins, citrus, potato peels or other foodstuff such as bread or meat (attracts rodents) onto the heap. Also add your grass clippings. Keep the heap moist but not sodden. Cover with a piece of black plastic or tarpaulin. Turn the heap say once a month. There's more "tricks" but at least you can make a start now! Watch for the Library article which will have more details.
Feb 13 2014, 01:44 PM
I laid a small buffalo lawn, about 20m2 in Plumstead Cape Town about 3 years ago. It has never done particularly well but is now dying off at a rapid rate. I have a huge ant problem in the garden and wonder if this could be the reason? The ants are destroying the soil which has mounds of sand that they have dug out all over the lawn area. I have tried Efecto Wonder4-1-1 with Karbaspray but to no effect and the grass is really in trouble with the soil resembling a sand pit, any suggestions? Thank you.
Feb 13 2014, 04:53 PM
To my knowledge, Karbaspray is not effective against ants - it is rather used to combat lawn caterpillars and elegant grasshoppers on lawns. Have a look at the following website which I found on the Internet :
Your lawn's condition and the reason for it - the ants - is mentioned there. You will need to get rid of the ants by using a pesticide which specifically targets ants. If you use a pesticide, READ THE ASSOCIATED PAMPHLET VERY CAREFULLY to ensure that neither children nor animals get harmed. When there are no more ants, you will need to firm up your lawn. This can be done by applying several light top dressings of washed river sand over a period of say 6-8 weeks. Try to do this when the Cape Town weather becomes cooler and the lawn becomes greener, from say April onwards. Finally, also make sure that your lawn is not infested with lawn caterpillar, which are usually present at this time of the year. Leave a wet towel/blanket on the lawn overnight and see if there are olive green worms underneath in the morning. Or pour a fairly strong mixture of dishwashing liquid in water onto one of the browner patches and check for the worms coming to the surface.
Feb 04 2014, 10:24 AM
I've got quite a big lawn, basically of Kikuyu, but due to neglect it's been invaded by unwanted 'grasses'. To replace the whole lawn with Buffalo, with plugs or runners, can I just plonk them in, in suitable tiny bare spots and hope they'll gradually replace the Kikuyu etc? I'm in Newlands, Cape Town
Feb 04 2014, 11:18 AM
By "unwanted grasses" you are probably referring to Cape Quick/Kweek. It is usually present in lawns and does not present a problem really, as it mixes well with the other lawn grass. Yes, you can plant Buffalo plugs or runners into any bare spots. Kikuyu is in fact a very invasive lawn grass and is banned in many parts of the USA. It sometimes dives very deep in order to spread, so that even if you spray with an appropriate herbicide, it is VERY difficult to eradicate completely. I've seen many lawns where Kikuyu and Buffalo (a "surface" grass) coexist. I've also heard it said that Buffalo will eventually replace the Kikuyu, but I've never seen that happen, nor do I believe it would happen given the nature of Kikuyu. I recommend that you do, where possible try to dig a little compost and either 2:3:2 or a peletised poultry manure e.g. Neutrog BladeRunner into each little bare patch. Then water the patch well once it has its plug or runner in place. Try not to disturb the plug or runner once planted e.g. if you have dogs or children. It's very easy to kick the plug or runner out when walking over the lawn. And also remember that right now is probably not the best time in Cape Town to try this approach - it's still too hot and windy. If you have the patience, try to wait for say April. Hope this works for you!
Feb 07 2014, 02:29 PM
From your answer it doesn't look as if a few plugs or runners of Buffalo here and there will eventually replace my Kikuyu, so it looks as if I'll have to replace the whole lawn. It's 20 x 10 metres. How much will that cost?
Feb 09 2014, 02:51 PM
If your decision is to replace the Kikuyu, then please consider the following : (1) You will need to spray with a herbicide and/or remove as much as possible of the Kikuyu, as deep as you can, using a fork (2) You will have to decide between roll-on Buffalo and Buffalo plugs. You can expect your new lawn to cost about four times as much if you go for roll-on versus plugs. I'm not a roll-on fan as plugs ultimately give a firmer and smoother surface, but the downside is having to wait a while for complete coverage. Whichever route you go, ensure that you properly prepare the soil. Lastly, I would probably wait until say April when Cape Town has cooler weather and the rainy season starts. For plugs, you'd probably be looking at 6-9 months for complete coverage, depending on how densely you plant the plugs. If you want a formal quote, I'll send one to you during the course of this week, provided I have your email address.
***eGardens now has an arrangement with a local landscaper to provide consultation and landscaping services.
Feb 14 2014, 03:32 PM
Thanks for your answers. It looks as if I would have to pay people to dig up my Kikuyu lawn and put in plugs of Buffalo., But then I've got a 60 kg dog whom I couldn't keep off the lawn for months. Anyway, please just give me ballpark estimates of how much the whole job would cost for plugs and for roll-on for my 20 x 10 m lawn
By the way, what grass do people have up north that turns brown in the winter drought?
Feb 16 2014, 01:59 PM
I will respond with ball-park costs for replacing your lawn, via your email address. Re grass up North, I always saw predominantly Kikuyu, sometimes what looked like Cape Kweek/Quick (perhaps Bermuda), and very occasionally Buffalo or LM/Berea. Most lawn grasses would succumb to Winter frost, so you would only find green lawns in warmer areas or where there is protection from frost. Also remember that most areas up North are Summer rainfall areas - hence contributing to brown lawns in Winter.
Apr 22 2014, 11:41 AM
Thanks for all this info you've taken the trouble to give me so promptly. Removing my existing 200 m2 Kikuyu grass sounds physically beyond me so I'll have to pay someone to do that, and then put in the Buffalo. The whole job would be a big expense so I'll carry on with my present unsatisfactory lawn. Thanks again, Andre
Jan 31 2014, 05:42 PM
Gretha Berg
I have been cutting my buffalo lawns with a weed eater - they are beautiful but am concerned that they are maybe too thick now - almost 6cm. Should they be cut with a lawnmower - will the roots start rotting? thank you ... I am in Hermanus Western Cape
Feb 03 2014, 01:29 PM
When one uses a weed eater to trim the lawn, it really takes off only the tips of the blades of grass, so naturally the mat will become thicker and more spongy over time. I must say I prefer a firmer lawn! Up country "scarrifying" of lawns (cutting it right down to the roots) is done just ahead of Spring, when active growth commences in the warmer weather. In the Western Cape the weather usually remains hot right up to April, so any drastic cutting back would expose the roots which would then be damaged by the hot sun. You will have noticed that our lawns are generally greener during the Winter when they receive most moisture and don't get dried by the wind and burnt by the sun. So, I'd suggest that you use a mower, first at its highest setting and then gradually through the winter reduce the cutting height. You might need to top dress your lawn several times with washed river sand to firm it up. And be careful when you first mow as you'll probably find that the lawn mower wheels sink into the lawn quite a bit! Hope this helps you a bit!
Feb 03 2014, 04:18 PM
Gretha Berg
Thank you so much Rod - a lawnmower I will have to buy!!
Jan 22 2014, 03:22 PM
Denise Diesel
I have a few shady spots in my garden and would like to plant Buffalo grass in these spots. I have a very protected garden in Witbank Mpumalanga and would like to know where I can buy about 30 sq. meters of Buffalo Grass.
Feb 04 2014, 02:47 PM
I apologise for taking so long to respond. I did draft a response to you some time ago, but my Vodafone/CellC connection must have dropped while it was being sent to you. Only noticed that it didn't work, today. But please have a look at a similar question from Liame, around 23 September 2013, which you will find under this response if you scroll down. I supplied some guidelines, just based on common sense, as to how you might source your Buffalo. I hope this helps you in some way!
Jan 12 2014, 07:30 PM
Darryl Roberts
My lawn is inundated with ricardia braeliensis. I have tried a broad leaf weed killer but it does absolutely nothing. Can you suggest an effective way to get rid of this tough weed. Pulling it up by the roots is tough as it has a long tubular root that breaks off easily. If the smallest piece of that root stays in the ground, the plant grows again.
Jan 14 2014, 09:54 AM
I have not ever come across this particular lawn weed Richardia brasiliensis at all, certainly not in Cape Town during recent years. It would be interesting to know how your infestation was started e.g. do your neighbours have it? do you use a garden service with unclean mower blades? Anyway, I did an Internet search and saw that you have posted a request for advice and received a reply to the effect that you should manually dig it out. And NOT use glysophate (Roundup). I'm at a loss to recommend any other herbicide if the one you used didn't work. But here are some possible courses of action. (1) I'm not sure which gardening magazines are still being published, but try Gardening SA , or Gardening. One of these magazines had a panel of specialists, including a person who represented a herbicide/pesticide company, probably Effekto. Contact him direct with your problem and see if he has a focussed product for this type of weed (2) There are companies around who specialise in weed killing pesticides (I knew one in Cape Town who had a product which would kill any weed, including its root). It was used to get rid of Kikuyu which has very deep invasive roots. The downside was that it killed EVERYTHING upon contact (though it had a limited lifetime with no residual effect in the soil). Not sure how big your lawn is, or the extent of the infestation. You might have to either destroy the whole lot including lawn grass (try to save some of the good uninfected sods though) and then replant, or you can apply the herbicide with a brush to selected weeds to minimise damage to the lawn itself. It's never possible to change the past so rather make peace with the situation and do the best you can from here on in. I really wish I had something more practical/constructive to offer you, but do consider the above....!
May 22 2014, 08:10 PM
Darryl Roberts
Thanks Rod, I have contacted the magazines you suggested and am awaiting a reply.
Jan 06 2014, 04:53 PM
We have Buffalo in Bettys Bay. This is the first year that runners seem to be growing on top of the lawn. Should I leave these or cut them off?
Jan 06 2014, 05:33 PM
I have seen this happen on a couple of occasions in the past, but it's no cause for concern really. Buffalo does spread via its runners and when its mat is already quite compact and no further soil is available it will in places tend to grow upwards or on top. I used to just manually snip off the few longish runners which were spoiling the look of the surface of the lawn. There would be no harm done I think, if there are a considerable number of these runners, if you ran your lawn mower at its highest setting over the lawn.
Dec 10 2013, 10:05 AM
We also recently planted buffalo plugs and I'm not entirely sure when to start mowing.
In the more shaded areas the plugs have grown very lanky. Should I wait for them to "drop" and root or should we start mowing?
Dec 10 2013, 10:37 AM
Please don't quote me on this one! My gut feel is that it would be fine to cut, but at the very HIGHEST setting on your mower. Hopefully removing the long runner tips would encourage more side runners, much like one sees when pinching out the growing tips of shrubs. The only other solution would be to somehow "pin" the longer growing runners to the ground, possibly by covering them with some soil, to encourage rooting. Would be nice if there were miniature wire hoops (like tent pegs) to pin them down.....but you would need to be sure to remove all of them prior to the next mowing. Obviously I don't know what area of lawn you are having to deal with. Hope this helps a little....
Dec 09 2013, 04:07 PM
CPT Matt
I recently planted buffalo plugs which are growing really well, some have seed stalks and I was wondering how long I need to leave them to fully seed before I can cut it. It has got quite long now but I dont want to interfere with its seeding. Any suggestions as to what to do / not do and what to look out for.
Dec 10 2013, 10:00 AM
The Buffalo will spread via its surface runners, so don't concern yourself at all with the seed stalks. You can cut now, but remember to set your mower to cut relatively high. You should allow the blades of grass to be long enough to protect the roots of the lawn from the hot and windy Cape Town Summer. Also you should not set your mower to cut deeply into the mat of your newly-planted lawn. If you allow the blades of grass to grow too long before cutting, then after cutting the lawn will not look green and appealing - rather it will look as if it has had a bad haircut! Beyond that, just follow the maintenance instructions in the article, paying particular attention to watering while your lawn establishes its roots.
***eGardens is now able to arrange consulting and general landscaping services. Our landscaper recommends not touching a newly-laid roll-on lawn for the first two months i.e. no foot traffic, no mowing. A slightly different opinion to mine!
Oct 06 2013, 10:03 PM
Cape Town garden
Hi! We had buffalo roll on applied to our garden last year. Unfortunately it was riddled with weeds and we've had an awful time with winter grass infiltrating it everywhere! There are also patches that seem to be totally dead (mostly in semi- to totally-shaded areas). I can see the root system of the buffalo still but it looks dry and dead. We've weeded out most of the winter grass and other weeds. What is your recommendation for getting our lush lawn back? Especially in the patches that seem dead? (Each about 1 to 2m squared) we are in the southern suburbs of Cape Town.
Oct 07 2013, 11:56 AM
Oh dear! I generally recommend Buffalo plugs rather than roll-on as it eventually gives a smoother, less spongy lawn. I've seen lots of Winter Grass around Cape Town - all putting out copious seed at the moment - so the battle to curb it cannot be won in a season. We've had a particularly wet winter and your Buffalo may have rotted in places, now appearing dead. Your lawn condition should improve as the weather becomes warmer, and the garden generally benefits from the moisture of the Winter rains. I have two suggestions for the patches : (1) loosen the soil, lightly fork in some compost and then plant some Buffalo Grass plugs or (2) plant some LM Grass plugs (especially where there is deeper shade, this creates a very attractive "fluffy" effect). Both Buffalo and LM Grass are surface grasses and complement each other well, the former being blue-green and the latter a vibrant green. Hope this works for you!
Oct 06 2013, 04:09 PM
What are the basic tools and equipment that you will need in order to maintain the Buffalo grass. I live in Southern Africa, Pretoria very sunny in summer and spring. Quite cold in winter but bit warmer during Autumn. Thanks
Oct 07 2013, 10:53 AM
I lived in Pretoria for many years so I am familiar with conditions up your way! I don't recall ever having seen Buffalo Grass there back in those days, but probably things have changed! No reason why Buffalo Grass would not grow well. Your Buffalo lawn should not need as frequent cutting as Kikuyu, and you will be doing the cutting from Spring onwards, when the weather becomes warmer and your rains start falling. Just the conventional petrol or electrical mower will do fine. You would also need an edge trimmer to keep the edges of the lawn neat and tidy. And I always recommend a pair of the old style "sheep shears" to do the places where the trimmer has not reached. The only other hand tool you might find useful is a small forked hand-held lawn weeder. My father always said "It's attention to detail that sets a garden apart". Buffalo Grass, being a surface grass, is not scarified during the Highveld winter as is sometimes done with Kikuyu Grass. It might go a little brown from the frost, but will recover given time.
Sep 29 2013, 06:38 PM
i have a south facing front bed which is high maintenance. I would like to plant an indigenous lawn, is Buffalo grass the best option please?
Sep 30 2013, 11:31 AM
You will have seen from the article that Buffalo Grass will grow in shade - but it does benefit from a little sun. If your lawn area is deeply shaded, then I recommend that you interplant the Buffalo Grass with LM Grass. The latter is a "fluffy", more green grass which does very well in shade. I have seen these two grasses co-existing, though the Buffalo Grass tends to dominate. Buffalo Grass takes foot traffic a little better than LM Grass, so also use that in deciding whether to plant one or the other, or a mix of the two. Both are indigenous, but Buffalo Grass is perhaps the easier of the two to manage.
Sep 03 2013, 02:26 PM
I am trying to get hold of Buffalo grass in Gauteng but it seems as if the suppliers are all down south!! Any suggestions?
Sep 03 2013, 03:43 PM
Some weeks ago I tried to find out about availability of Buffalo grass in Gauteng. I used Google on the Internet and keywords like "buffalo supplier gauteng". I recall quite a number of suppliers being listed. You might wish to do the same. Otherwise go to the following website - - (South African Landscapers Institute) and see if you can find out through them. Failing that, any of your big retail nurseries should be able to point you in the right direction.
Aug 29 2013, 02:35 PM
Willie Lineveldt
I am from Hennenman FreeState. We have kukuja grass but the ordinary kweek or also known as skaapgras has infiltrated our lawn. Will Buffalo grass stop this and how will it affect the Kukuja? can it thus be partly integrated or must the whole Lawn be replanted?
Aug 30 2013, 01:00 PM
You do not mention the size of your lawn, but if it covers a very small area then removal of all the lawn grass by hand and subsequent replanting is an easier task. You would use a suitable herbicide purchased at a local nursery or Co-Op to kill off any remaining grass, then replant the whole area – preferably don't replant with Kikuyu Grass (see note below). I'll assume though that you will have to make do with a mix of lawn grasses. First note that a mix of Buffalo Grass (paspalum conjugatum or stenotaphrum secundatum) and Skaapgras/Kweek/Bermuda (cynodon dactylon) is both indigenous and is in fact recommended by some growers. See the websites and Also note that Kikuyu (pennisetum clandestinum) is in fact very invasive, can go down to a depth of 3m, requires more water than the indigenous lawn grasses and some say we should not be using it at all. And getting rid of it is not easy. I have seen many lawns where both Buffalo and Kikuyu are mixed very successfully. I have noticed that Buffalo, having surface runners, will grow right over any Skaapgras/Kweek, gradually obscuring it (not killing it). So in summary, I recommend : leave the Kikuyu, remove by hand the Skaapgras where it occupies largish patches, plant Buffalo plugs into those patches after digging in some compost and superphosphate, water well and keep moist and then let the Kikuyu, Buffalo and Skaapgras co-exist. You should still end up with an attractive and healthy mixed lawn. Hope this works for you!


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