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Buchloe dactyloides (photo courtesy of Kimberley Navabpour)
Buchloe dactyloides (photo courtesy of Kimberley Navabpour)

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Zone
Zones 1A, 1B, 2A, 2B, 3A, 3B, 10, 11, 14-16, 18-23
Full Sun
Full
Regular WaterMinimal Water
Moderate, Minimal

Buchloe dactyloides

Buffalo Grass
Poaceae (Gramineae)
Turf Grasses

This grass grows wild from central Montana to Arizona—and increasingly in lawns around the arid West. Slow to sprout and fill in, it spreads rapidly by surface runners once established (even into surrounding beds) and makes matted, reasonably dense turf that takes hard wear and looks fairly good with little summer water or fertilizer. Gray-green from late spring to hard frost, straw-colored through late fall and winter.

Male and female flowers appear on different plants. Males flower on top, look ragged. Females flower unobtrusively at the ground. Seed mixes always include both, but vegetative selections like ‘Prestige’ and ‘Verde’ are female, so they look more even.

Given minimal water, it grows to 4 in. tall and needs little or no mowing. More water means higher growth and some mowing. To start from seed, sow 2 lb. per 1,000 sq. ft. Soak occasionally to 1 ft. while grass is getting started. Or start from sod, planting 4-in.-wide plugs in prepared soil 3–4 ft. apart in spring; expect coverage in two seasons. 

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