Buffalo thatch is another quality determinant amongst the different buffalo grass brands on offer in Australia today. Buffalo thatch has always been a major concern for owners of this lawn type for many decades, and that same concern continues to this day. When buffalo thatch reaches its worst state, the thatch layer will sit above the original lawn height and surrounding pathways by many inches in height.
Which makes buffalo thatch ratings so important as a consideration for the buyer of a new buffalo lawn, who is left with little other information than the same grass companies whose only interest is trying to sell as much of their own grass brand to as many people as possible… however… we aren't owned by the big grass companies, and we don't sell grass.
So here are the true comparison ratings for thatch development amongst the most common buffalo grasses being sold in Australia today.
Reducing Buffalo Thatch
Before we get started, we understand that some people who already own a buffalo lawn will be reading this, and others will also ask how they can further reduce the possibility of their buffalo lawn developing thatch, so lets quickly cover these basics first.
There are some measures that can be taken to reduce buffalo thatch from building up excessively over the years, and we'll discuss these methods in another article.
However, the single biggest determining factor even more so than these buffalo thatch ratings, is whether the buffalo lawn is being grown in full sun, or partial shade. Buffalo is a grass best suited for partial shade, and when grown in partial shade - buffalo will rarely develop that thick ugly layer of thatch that buffalo is so well known for. However, when grown in full sun conditions - a buffalo lawn will develop that thick unsightly thatch layer at greater speed and at greater depth than if the grass were grown in partial shade. So always remember rule number one, buffalo is a grass best suited for partial shade - not full sun.
Now, lets see the results of these independent studies.
Lowest numbers represent least thatch development.
Buffalo Grown In Full Sun
These results measure thatch development for buffalo grass which is being grown in full sun conditions.
As we can see from these results, Palmetto is the winner as the buffalo grass which develops least thatch when grown in sun. In fact, none of the other buffalo grasses came close to Palmetto in developing the least amount of thatch in these trials.
Sapphire came second.
Matilda and Sir Walter tied for third.
Shademaster came last.
Buffalo Grown In Partial Shade
The partial shade trials produced a slightly different result for the grasses which were in the middle of the road as far as thatch development in the full sun trials, but the winner still remained the same.
Palmetto came first again, making this result consistent with its winning thatch ratings in full sun. However, along with Palmetto, Sapphire and Shademaster also tied for first place as developing least thatch in partially shaded conditions.
Matilda came second.
Sir Walter came last.
Conclusion - Best Buffalo With Least Thatch
Buffalo thatch is a very important factor when choosing a buffalo grass for possible purchase for the home. Whether growing Buffalo in full sun or partial shade, buyers should take thatch development as one of the more important considerations when choosing which buffalo grass to buy.
We can indeed tell a lot from these data results… but which of them are most important to consider when choosing a new buffalo lawn based in part on thatch ratings?
We must emphasise here, as we do throughout this entire site, that thatch in buffalo grass is of the highest concern when the turf is being grown in full sun, therefore we must look overwhelmingly at the sun ratings for thatch in buffalo to determine the best buffalo with least thatch.
With this in mind, we can then see the following results…
Palmetto won consistently across all trials in not only full sun - but also partial shade as the best buffalo which develops the least thatch, and with a considerable winning margin over the last place getter, and often against its closest rivals in individual trials too.
Sapphire came second place.
Sir Walter came in third.
Matilda came in fourth.
Shademaster came last.
NOTE: Overall, Sir Walter and Matilda seemed to share third place. However, when we looked at the data for the latter part of the trials - after the turf had become fully established, we saw Sir Walter perform better than Matilda in regards to thatch. We agree with these results and therefore place Sir Walter as the third place getter, then followed by Matilda for the thatch trials.
Buffalo Grass Research:
Independent Buffalo Research was conducted by HAL and Qld Dept of Primary Industries, and sponsored by all major buffalo grass license holders in Australia... Read More...
How Did We Work Out The Full Sun Thatch Data:
We took all thatch test results from all plot sites in direct sunlight, and then averaged these figures to provide an overall true test result average. Sites included in these sun trials were Richmond, Sydney Botanical Gardens, Canberra, Packenham, Springfield Lakes, River Rocks and Redlands.
How Did We Work Out The Partial Shade Thatch Data:
We took all partial shade test results from all plot sites, and then averaged these figures to provide an overall true test result average. Sites included in these partial shade trials were Richmond, Canberra, Pakenham and Redlands.