New roll on buffalo turf will arrive at its new home freshly harvested from the turf farm, and will arrive without one very important item necessary for its very survival… a root system! Yes, the new buffalo turf will arrive with very little soil and only the tiniest amount of roots. Instead this turf will be comprised almost entirely of its upper thatch layer of stolons, sward and leaf. This turf layer is then rolled onto the prepared lawn soil surface and will then grow a new root system in its new home.
All lawn types need to be kept moist at all times during their establishment phase in their new homes, this is to ensure there is always an ample amount of moisture in the new turf, between the turf and the soil, and in the soil itself. This ensures the greatest, and only chance of survival and establishment of the new lawn in its new home.
Buffalo grass needs a little more attention than most other roll on lawns do, and this is for two reasons, the first as well already mentioned is that the new buffalo will have no root system whatsoever, which puts it at a disadvantage over other roll on lawn types. And second is the thick matted layer of coarse buffalo grass stolons are actually spaced very wide apart, which makes evaporation from new buffalo greater than that of a grass types such as Couch or Zoysia.
For these reasons, new buffalo grass does need to be carefully monitored and watered accordingly during its establishment phase, and may need slightly more water at this time than other grass types.
Watering New Buffalo Lawns Depending On The Season
There is one single important point in watering a new buffalo lawn…
The new lawn must never dry out during establishment.
This is true with all lawn types but even more so with buffalo grass for the reasons we've already mentioned. So with this one point in mind, we must simply water the new buffalo lawn as is required until it becomes established with its own root system. At which time it can be watered normally just the same as every other lawn can.
So lets translate this new lawn watering with the seasons:
New buffalo lawns planted in Summer will require watering several times throughout the day for the first couple of weeks after planting. The cooler the days - the less watering is required, the hotter the days - the more waterings are required each and every day.
After the first couple of weeks these waterings can be reduced down to once or twice a day. A couple of weeks after that we can generally go to twice a week watering.
The homeowner must monitor the lawn at all times during this most crucial time. If at any time the lawn looks like its suffering poor health or drying out, then the homeowner will need to increase watering times as required.
Once again we must keep the new buffalo lawn moist during establishment.
In the cooler weather of Autumn we can probably get away with watering the new turf a couple of times a day for the first week or two, and then once every few days after that, and then slowly weening the lawn down to regular watering patterns shortly thereafter.
And again, the homeowner must monitor the new buffalo lawn health at all times, and increase watering if at any time the new turf looks like its browning off or suffering dehydration in any way.
I've seen new buffalo lawns planted in the last half of winter in Perth and which had zero extra water applied other than rainfall, and the new lawn still established very well, and without suffering any ill health whatsoever.
While such a scenario may indeed works in some warmer areas of Australia, we cannot recommend this as a standard course of action for planting a new buffalo lawn.
Even in winter, even in warmer climates, the new lawn must always be monitored for signs of bad health, and watered as is necessary, because even in winter - new buffalo lawns can still dry out and become damaged very quickly and very easily during establishment.
Always monitor lawn health, and water whenever is necessary.
Watering new buffalo lawns in Spring is like watering new lawns in Autumn, only in reverse… If the lawn was planted in the beginning of Spring then very little extra watering is required. Twice a day to begin, working down to once a day very quickly, and then decreasing more and more over the following couple of months until a regular watering pattern is established.
If planting the new buffalo lawn in later Spring, then of course the weather will be warmer and more water will be required. Twice to three times a day to begin, quickly working down to twice a day, then once a day, and then more slowly adjusting to regular watering patterns over the following couple of months.
Remember, the weather is getting warmer and warmer as the months of Spring roll by, with this in mind, our extra watering for our new turf may last longer than if the lawn was planted in Autumn and the weather was getting cooler and wetter as the weeks passed by.
Just be aware that as Spring progresses we can experience some occasional hotter days, and these must be watched out for, and extra watering given to the new lawn during the day when temperatures rise.
The Final Return To Rule Number One
When establishing a new buffalo lawn, no matter what time of year it is, we must always follow rule number one…
Always monitor the new lawn health every day, and during the day if possible for the first week or two at least, and always be ready to apply an extra watering as is required, and at any time the new buffalo lawn shows any sign of stress or wilting or other poor health developing.
If any of these signs appear, then we should not only give the new lawn another drink straight away, but we should also adjust our overall watering schedule for the new turf by watering more often until the new buffalo lawn is fully established.