Lawn contains buffalo grass or other low-mow species


What is this?

Buffalo grass (Bouteloua dactyloides) is a very slow-growing prairie grass that is native to regions west of here. Though it forms a dense sod and is extremely hardy, it stays brown until early summer, long after traditional lawns have greened up. Buffalo grass grows so slowly that some people mow it just once or twice a year and others don’t mow it at all, depending on the look they want.

Low-mow grasses are also slow growing, but are blends comprised of non-native fine-textured fescues that green up on a more conventional schedule each spring. Like buffalo grass, these are mowed infrequently.

How do I do this?

On my own

  1. Make sure this type of lawn is right for you and your site, and you have the means to shepherd it through its establishment period. Don’t forget that buffalo grass greens up much later than conventional Kentucky bluegrass. For these and other reasons, carefully research and select the variety of grass well-suited to the location, soils and traffic you have in mind. Some grass species will do well only under very specific conditions.
  2. Properly prepare your area. Good site preparation is very, very important.  Visit or download their guide for site preparation for sowing seeds.
  3. Several companies sell low-mow grasses; make sure the one you choose will thrive in our area. Click here for vendors selling these grasses. They can provide advice about what seed will be best for your needs and site conditions and what time of year you should sow.
  4. Just like any new lawn, these grasses must be regularly and properly watered until they have well-established roots.
  5. Remove emerging weeds so they don’t out-compete your newly planted but slow-growing lawn.
  6. Don’t forget about reconsidering the size of your lawn while you’re at it. Ask yourself if you even want a lot of turf grass to deal with. Replacing some of it with a bed of gorgeous native shrubs might be more the ticket.
  7. Keep in mind these grasses are not a cure-all. They generally do require some maintenance, do not tolerate wet soils (explore sedges for those sites), need good site preparation and do not handle heavy foot traffic.


Hire Some Help

Refer to our list of local vendors providing seed and service. Regardless of who plants the grass seeds, site preparation and weed control for the first few years are very important.


Why is this important?

With these alternatives to high-maintenance traditional grasses, such as Kentucky bluegrass, you can significantly reduce the amount of water, fertilizer and other chemicals you use as well as the amount of time and energy devoted to mowing. Mowing emissions are also greatly reduced.

Thus, you can conserve water and energy, and contribute to cleaner water and higher air quality.   


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