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Buffalo Grass- a Native

Debbie Roland, Master Gardener

Most West Texans want to be outside when there are spring breezes and it is 80 degrees. I have two acres that I am interested in returning to its native state so I’ve recently become intrigued by David Bamburger and the work he has done over a 50 year period to restore a Hill Country ranch, Selah, to its native state. It is well worth researching if you are interested.

I want to walk around my five acres and enjoy my plants, birds and the sound of my small water pond. This led me on a search for grasses and ground cover that will thrive here. Bermuda grass was out because I’ve never been able to grow it. Well, except in my flowerbeds, the only place I didn’t want it. As I became more interested in water conservation at my house the usual West Texas grasses such as bermuda, zoysia or St. Augustine, weren’t going to work for me.

If, like me, you are interested in a more native, wildlife friendly, water responsible landscape, buffalograss might be a good choice for you.

Buffalograss is a warm season, native turfgrass. It spreads laterally by stolons, has a low disease potential and is cold and drought tolerant. The slow growth rate means less watering. In fact the Texas Water Commission recommends watering every 21-45 days. Even better, the requirements for fertilizing and mowing are low. Its color ranges from spring green to blue green.

On the down side, it does not grow well in the shade nor does it tolerate large amounts of foot traffic.

The seed can be hard to find locally, although not impossible. Several small local nurseries have it and of course it can be ordered online. It can also be purchased as sod.

It is recommended that it be mowed from 2.5 to 4 inches in a home setting if you choose to mow. Honestly, it looks great with any mowing at all.

More information can be found at

Please contact the AgriLife office in Odessa at 498-4071 or in Midland at 686-4700 for more gardening information.


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