One of the biggest downsides with Buffalo lawns is their tendency to thatch very heavily. We've probably all seen many old style Buffalo lawns at older homes which have a stunningly thick layer of thatch. This same trait of Buffalo grass remains present in all the modern hybrids such as Sir Walter, Kings Pride, Palmetto and Shademaster.
So why don't the grass company websites tell us about this, and why don't they tell us how to control or fix thatch in Buffalo lawns? Disappointing isn't it.
All warm season grasses will produce a layer of built up lawn runners (stolons)which will increase in thickness over time. Buffalo grass is notorious for increasing it's base thickness like no other lawn variety does, easily growing to a thickness of 20 cm or more.
Problems of Thatch Control In Buffalo Lawns
There are several methods to reduce thatch in most lawn types, however it is a much more difficult process with Buffalo grass.
This is because Buffalo lawns only have above ground runners (stolons) to re-generate from, whereas other lawn types have below ground runners (rhizomes) to repair with.
The process of removing thatch involves removing a great deal of living and dead above ground runners. The problem with Buffalo is that if too much of the vegetation is removed, there are no back-up runners underground to repair the lawn, so the risk of severe lawn damage or lawn death is immensely increased.
Best and Worst Frequencies to Remove Thatch
Thatch control in Buffalo lawns must be done regularly. This is usually yearly. Better and safer results will always happen when there is less thatch to remove. The beginning of the growing season in Spring is often the best annual time of year for this process.
There is almost nothing which can be done to repair a Buffalo lawn which has grown an excessive amount of thatch of 15 cm or more. In these cases, the lawn will usually need to be removed with a bobcat.