The aim of all lawn care is to have a lawn which is kept green and healthy, has the least amount of problems, and is robust enough for the purpose its intended for. In our quest to have a beautiful lawn, we all at some time may overdo things when it comes to looking after our buffalo lawns. We apply too much water, too much fertiliser, too many wetting agents, too many so called lawn wonder tonics which promise all sorts of benefits. It can be a never ending cycle of wasted expense and unnecessary hassle.
This article will concentrate not on money and wasteful overuse of products, but instead on the risks we present to our buffalo lawns from over watering the turf, which can present many dangers to the health of our lawn.
We're going to go through step by step the risks we create to our lawns from overwatering.
More water most often means a speeding up of the growth rate of the turf. The buffalo lawn grows faster, needs more lawn mowing, and builds up its thatch faster. More lawn mowing means more work for the homeowner, and extra monetary and environmental expense in using the mower more often. A rapidly growing lawn will also begin to look unmowed and unkempt far quicker when growing at rapid speed, meaning the lawn will always look untidy and like it needs mowing. And of course, quicker thatch build up is never a good idea with any buffalo grass.
Shallow Root System
Buffalo lawns that are watered too frequently will develop a very shallow root system. The roots will be shallow as they have no reason to go deeper into the soil because there is always an abundant supply of water right at the surface of the topsoil.
The problem of a shallow root system arises when the heat of summer arises. In the summer heat, the topsoil dries out very quickly, thus also drying out the shallow root system of the buffalo grass. This can quickly result in a dramatic decrease in lawn health, browning off, dehydration, or even death of the turf itself.
Whereas a deeper lawn root system will easily withstand all heat of summer without stress.
More Water Is Needed
Following from our discussion of the heat drying out the topsoil of the shallow roots of the buffalo grass, we can also easily see that this increased evaporation of water where the roots of the overwatered buffalo lawn now reside, will also mean that we need to keep applying more water more often just to keep the buffalo lawn looking good and staying healthy, without the risk of damage or death.
Increased Risk Of Lawn Disease
A buffalo lawn which is constantly wet, or wet for longer periods of time than is absolutely necessary, will always run the risk of massively increasing the chance of a disease outbreak in the turf.
All lawn diseases love and thrive in moist humid conditions. So when we overwater buffalo grass, especially in the warmer months, and even more especially at night time, we are providing perfect breeding and living conditions for lawn disease to occur and to thrive and to spread at great speed.
Worn Out Turf and Bare Patches
Overwatering lawns leaves the soil and the turf of the lawn as always being wet. Or we could say "soggy", and a wet or soggy buffalo lawn will be weak in its structure. If the lawn is played on by kids or pets or if adults regularly use the lawn area, the buffalo lawn will become easily prone to quick damage from less wear and tear than a strong healthy buffalo lawn would.
The leaves and runners (stolons) of the buffalo turf are easily damaged, the roots of the turf are easily removed from the wet soil from play or other wear and tear activities, and once bare patches first begin to emerge they will grow at rapid speed for as long as the buffalo lawn and soil remains constantly wet and overwatered.
Increased Moss In Shady Areas
Most buffalo lawns are grown for the high shade tolerance of this grass type. So for all buffalo lawns which are being grown in partly shaded conditions, we know that some areas of the lawn will naturally receive more shade than other areas.
And its in these more heavily shaded areas of the lawn that we run the greatest risk, and often battle against moss encroaching onto the buffalo lawn. Increased water in these same areas will greatly aid the moss to grow stronger, while making the buffalo grass weaker, and so the moss will most often win the race to gain territory from our buffalo lawns.
Proper Buffalo Lawn Watering
We've seen all the reasons why overwatering buffalo lawns is not a good idea.
So just how do we water buffalo lawns correctly?
We have several articles on this topic here in the watering section, be sure to check out the watering menu on the side of this page for more info.
In short, we want to give the lawn more water each time it is watered, so that the water goes deeply into the soil profile. And we want to water the lawn as less often as is possible. Only ever watering the buffalo lawn when it shows signs of needing another drink of water. This process keeps the lawn in the best health, while training the roots of the buffalo grass to go far deeper into the soil profile. While at the same time we are avoiding all the damaging risks associated with overwatering our buffalo lawns.