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How to Manage Pests

The UC Guide to Healthy Lawns

Buffalograss — Buchloe dactyloides

Photo of buffalograss


Buffalograss is a warm-season grass species native to the North American Plains. Although buffalograss is naturally one of the most drought-resistant grasses, its use is currently limited by its long winter dormancy, relatively low turf quality, low shade tolerance, and relatively high seed and sod cost.

Identifying tips

A fine-textured grayish-green grass. The leaves are rolled in the bud, there are no auricles, and the ligule is a fringe of hairs. The leaf blades are curled, or drooping, and pointed. Buffalograss is a low-growing grass and spreads by stolons.


Very low maintenance. Buffalograss can survive with very little fertilizer, water, and mowing. It is drought resistant. If not irrigated, buffalograss will turn brown during the summer; it will recover well once irrigation has resumed. It is very shade intolerant. Many cultivars of this species can survive cold winter temperatures through dormancy. Mowing before emergence from winter dormancy will remove brown, dead foliage and hasten spring green-up.

Illustration of a collar of buffalograss
Collar of buffalograss
Illustration of overall plant of buffalograss
Overall plant structure of buffalograss

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