Seeding in buffalo grass lawns can be a concern for many lawn owners. While all lawn types go to seed, as do all plants in one form or another, the differences in how these seeds present themselves is very different across all the different grass types.
Kikuyu for example has a very fine seed head and stalk which can be barely noticeable for many people, Couch and Zoysia will produce a more pronounced seed head and stalk which is still noticeable but mild. But for Buffalo grass, the seed head and stalk are both very thick and tapers to the top with a pointy spike. While these seed heads and stalks on buffalo grass break very easy when walked on, they are still uncomfortable under foot and can be unsightly if left to keep growing without regular mowing during their seeding period.
PHOTO COURTESY OF OZBREED TURF AND PLANTS
Stopping Buffalo Grass From Seeding
There really is no way to stop a buffalo lawn from going to seed, lawns are plants, and as such - all lawns will seed at least once a year. This is normal and natural for a lawn to do.
Sometimes however, a buffalo lawn may go to seed more often than what it should, or the seeding will last longer than a couple or a few weeks as is normal. When this happens it is most often because the lawn is under some type of stress, and the seeding is the lawn's response to that stress. The stress the lawn is under prompts extra seeding in case that stress leads to the death of the lawn, and the seeding is the lawns responsive way to try to ensure its survival if it should die.
These stress levels can occur and rise in our home lawns at times when the lawn may be suffering from lack of adequate water, lack of nutrition from fertilisers, or from other severe conditions such as excessive cold, winds etc.
If our buffalo lawn is suffering from any type of stress factor which is leading it to seed excessively, then our best course of action would be to try and rectify whatever that cause may be. Increase watering if necessary, implement a good year round fertilising program, put up wind blocks such as plants etc. and these things will help to decrease any excessive seeding of buffalo grass in the future.
How To Treat Buffalo Grass in Seed
If our buffalo lawn is in seed, and whether this is just normal yearly seeding or is prompted by stress, there are a couple of things we can do to bring the seeding to its conclusion sooner, as well as to keep our buffalo lawn looking good.
Fertilising is the first thing we want to do. If the lawn was only fertilised in the last few weeks then this step is probably not necessary unless the fertilising was inadequate at the time. If this is the case then a small application of extra fertiliser will improve the lawn's health and ensure the lawn is not feeling any stress from lack of available nutrients. If the next scheduled lawn fertilising is not due for a few more weeks, then now is a good time to bring it forward to fertilise using a complete lawn fertiliser with trace elements and phosphate.
More frequent lawn mowing is also a good idea during seeding for a couple of reasons. First is it will remove the seed heads more frequently and thus keep the buffalo lawn looking its best at all times. And secondly and most importantly is that frequent lawn mowing will prompt the lawn to use its energy to repair itself after cutting, and to grow more green leaf as a response. So the extra lawn mowing creates a greener lawn, removes seed heads, and stops the lawn from using its energy from creating any more seed heads. Thus bringing the seeding to a close more quickly while producing a greener healthier lawn.
Will The Buffalo Seed Repair The Lawn From New Growth
The most common question I have been asked is if the lawn owner left the seeds to mature and spread, will these buffalo seeds repair any damaged areas of the lawn… and the short answer is "no". Buffalo is just too difficult to grow from seed, and the returns from any dispersed seed would be almost negligible.