Buffalograss is native to the western areas of the tallgrass prairie. It is sometimes listed as native to the Chicago region, but it is thought to be introduced from further west. This is a low-growing, warm season, running grass.
This plant has some cultivated varieties. Go to list of cultivars.
All Common Names:
Tree or Plant Type:
- Ground cover,
- North America
- Mixed border,
- Small plant (6-12 inches),
- Low-growing plant (under 6 inches)
- Full sun (6 hrs direct light daily)
- Zone 2,
- Zone 3,
- Zone 4,
- Zone 5 (Chicago),
- Zone 6,
- Zone 7,
- Zone 8,
- Zone 9
- Dry soil,
- Moist, well-drained soil
Season of Interest:
- Mid spring,
- Late spring,
- Early summer,
- Mid summer,
- Late summer
Flower Color & Fragrance:
Shape or Form:
Size and Form
Buffalograss is a low-growing (4 to 6 inches tall) grass that will slowly spread by stolons.
Buffalograss requires full sun and is very tolerant of drought.
It can be used as a ground cover or a low maintenance lawn, but does have some limitations in this regard. This grass will be dormant from mid-fall to mid-spring and will be straw colored at that time. It does not tolerate high moisture conditions or heavy foot traffic.
Disease, pests, and problems
No serious disease or insect problems.
Stolons can spread this grass into areas where it is not wanted.
Native geographic location and habitat
Native to a large portion of the Midwestern and Western United State. Common in arid zones.
The leaves of this grass are very fine, only 1/8 inch wide and 3 to 6 inches long. The gray green leaves curl a little. The leaves will be straw-colored from mid-fall to mid-spring.
Flowering occurs at different times over the wide native range of this plant. In the Midwest, the majority of flowering will occur May through July. Male and female flowers usually occur on separate plants (dioecious), but some plant may produce both male and female flowers (monoecious). Flowers are tiny. Many flowers are held in two-rowed clusters while female flowers are clustered into groups. The flowers are wind pollinated.
The small fruit (caryopsis or grains) are held in bur-like clusters.
Cultivars and their differences
Cody (Buchloe dactyloides 'Cody'): This cultivar has several improved characteristics, including faster establishment, darker color (blue-green), higher density, good cold tolerance and excellent drought tolerance.
Legacy (Buchloe dactyloides 'Legacy'): Dark blue green color and soft narrow blades. All female plants.
Texoka (Buchloe dactyloides 'Texoka'): This cultivar contains a mix ten different selections of buffalo grass from Texas, Oklahoma and Kansas. Adaptable to most of the United States.