buffalo grass

Un healthy lawn

Poor neglected lawn

I received this photo late yesterday from a friend with the question “what is wrong with my lawn?” My guess is that you may have a similar problem so I thought I might try and help you out with possible causes and suggested fix. After asking a few questions and getting responses all via text we were able to determine the most likely outcome and make some suggestions to fix the problems.

Problem 1. The ground was had and dry. The owner had been under watering, easy mistake as this time of the year it is normally raining or having periods of rain. this usually solves the dry hard soil issues.

Problem 2. Lots of dead grass with healthy green shoots. This is a good indication that something has gone wrong some time ago. Grub attack would be my first guess. but that has passed and the grass is on the way back now.

Problem 3. Automatic irrigation. Different types of sprinklers all set to run the same, but needed to be set to run for different amounts of time.

Suggested fix. Adjust the watering times to suite the current conditions (at the moment hot and dry) so increase. Apply a good quality fertilizer (Nitrophoska and Urea) blended with an organic type fertilizer to give the lawn grass that is left a kick along.

  1. Remember the fertilizer when applied can burn so apply in late afternoon and water in heavenly.

It’s hot and dry here in Townsville (if you don’t count the occasional showers meant to tease us); we’re all waiting patiently for the rains. When it’s hot and dry like this, it’s not hard to push your residential water allocation to the limit… but we all know that water conservation is a serious issue.

Buffalo Grass Lawn watering tips

Step on GrassYour lawn is a valuable improvement to your property, so some of that water needs to be allocated to keeping your lawns in tip top condition. If you’ve selected Buffalo Grass as your lawn type, you’ve made a great choice as it’s one of the more water-efficient of the lawn types.

When does my Buffalo Grass lawn need watering?

Seasons, temperature, rainfall, wind, soil condition and whether your land is flat or slopping, all play a part in determining when your lawn needs watering. To check if your buffalo grass lawn needs to be watered, step firmly on the grass, if after removing your foot the grass doesn’t spring back but, instead lays flat, this indicates that your buffalo grass lawn needs to be watered.

How often should I water my Buffalo Grass lawn?

Deep infrequent watering will help the buffalo grass develop healthy deep root systems that can extract water from a larger volume of soil than shallow roots that are developed by lawns that get light frequent watering. Watering once a week in the hot dry Townsville summer is sufficient for most lawns. However, you can skip 2 weeks of watering after heavy rains.Testing Soil

How much water should I put on my Buffalo Grass lawn?

Ideally, you should water enough to moisten the top 20 cm of soil. The amount of water required to do this will depend on the type and wetness of the soil. To test penetration, you could use a shovel to spread the soil after watering to check how far the water has penetrated. Or just push in a screwdriver to see how far it goes in.

Generally, this penetration can be achieved with 32 mm of water from your irrigation system, sprinkler or handheld hose. To measure how much water you are putting on your buffalo grass lawn, you can lay out a few containers to collect and measure the water that is being applied to the lawn.

NOTE: Avoid water run-off on slow penetrating soils by splitting the watering period up into shorter sessions, allowing the water to penetrate each time.

How long should I leave my sprinkler or irrigation system on my Buffalo Grass lawn?

Lay out a few containers and leave your irrigation system on for 10 – 15 minutes then measure how many millimeters of water is collected on average. Then calculate how long the sprinklers need to be left on to provide the 32 mm of water you want to apply and then set the irrigation system timer accordingly.

What time of day is the best to water my Buffalo Grass lawn?


The most efficient time to water your Buffalo Grass lawn is early in the morning before the temperature rises and causes water lose to evaporation. In Townsville, this could be between 5am and 8am. Watering in the evening should be avoided if possible as it can cause development of certain turf diseases.

Plant-EM is Townsville’s Buffalo Grass lawn and irrigation system specialists. Contact us for a free quotation on supply and installing buffalo grass lawn and irrigation systems.