Buffalo Lawn Care and How to Care for Your St. Augustine Lawn

Buffalo Turf Grass (also known as St Augustine grass in North America) is a warm-season grass that became very popular in Australia with the relatively new soft-leaved Buffalo varieties such as Shademaster (in the 1980s) and Sir Walter Buffalo (in the 1990s). Just for a quick classification – there are two (2) types of grasses i.e. cool season grasses and warm season turfgrasses.

In cool-season grasses, we commonly have rye and fescue grasses.

With warm-season grasses, there are many, including the different soft-leaved Buffalo (St Augustine) grasses, Queensland Blue Couch (this is a totally different grass than the Green Couch variety of grass in your garden), Couch/Green Couch ( also known as Bermuda grass in North America), Kikuyu Turf, Zoysia, etc.

Buffalo and Queensland Blue Couch differ from all other warm-season grasses in that they are built only with above-ground runners known as stolons. On the other hand, green couch, kikuyu, and zoysia grasses are built with stolons both above ground (stolons) and below ground (rhizomes).

Originally buffalo grass (Stenotaphrum secundatum) was the old tough-leaved variety. At the time, it was the only Buffalo variety available. However, since the 1970s, turfgrass growers have created more desirable Buffalo turfgrasses. These varieties, including Sir Walter (which is the best breed of Australian buffalo), have softer leaves and are more shade tolerant than other grasses.

In our experience as lawn care contractors, we believe that the Sir Walter Buffalo stands out above all other Buffalo varieties due to its tolerance to herbicide sprays and its superior green color in winter.

When spraying broadleaf weeds (including clover, bindii, dandelion, etc.) on buffalo lawns, you should use the selective herbicide with the main active ingredients being 200 g/L bromoxynil and 200 g/L MCPA.

Australian retail products for this selective herbicide include Chemspray’s Bin-Die and Searle’s Buffalo Master selective herbicide. If you are looking for a product similar to these, you should compare them based on the active components of the product. You will notice that the labels on these products will say that they are not suitable for use on ST buffalo varieties, including ST26, ST85 and ST91 buffalo. Certainly, you should be careful when dealing with these varieties.

Any selective herbicide (suitable for lawns) that contains Dicamba as part of the active component should not be used on Buffalo Turf. Buffalo Turf suffers severe leaf burn to death if sprayed with Dicamba-based herbicides.

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