Is Buffalo grass vs Bermuda grass a choice that has been bothering you for quite some time? These are two very different types of grasses with respect to appearance, texture, nature, and growth requirements.
We have asked experts who have been growing both on their lawns and turf for a long time. Reading an exhaustive comparison between both of them given below will help you make up your mind about choosing just one.
- Buffalo Grass vs Bermuda Grass
- What Is The Difference Between Buffalo vs Bermuda Grass?
- What is Buffalo Grass Best For?
- What Is Bermuda Grass Best For?
- Frequently Asked Questions
Buffalo Grass vs Bermuda Grass
|Category||Buffalo Grass||Bermuda Grass|
|Scientific Name||Bouteloua dactyloides||Cynodon dactylon|
|Native||Canada, Mexico and the United States||Eastern Africa|
|Texture||Feels extremely soft and silky||Feels coarse on touch|
|Germination Time||Takes seven to 10 days to germinate||
|Uses||Buffalo grass grows only for low-traffic areas||Good for residential lawns and turfs|
|Traffic Tolerance||Very poor||Excellent|
|Water Requirements||0.5 inch of water per week||1 to 2 inches of clean water per week|
|Tolerance For Shade||Tolerates partial shade||Does not tolerate shade|
What Is The Difference Between Buffalo vs Bermuda Grass?
The differences between these two are that Buffalo is blue-green grass that feels soft, whereas Bermuda is very thick and coarse. Buffalo is not tolerant of any type of use and easily succumbs to weeds, unlike Bermuda. Buffalo is also shade, heat, and cold tolerant, whereas Bermuda is not.
What is Buffalo Grass Best For?
Buffalo grass is best for areas where it will be in extreme temperatures (it is both cold and heat resistant) and where there may be drought (it is very drought-tolerant). Some of its drawbacks include its intolerance to foot traffic and that it is a very expensive grass type.
– Buffalo Grass Is Heat and Drought Tolerant
Buffalo is a warm type of lawn grass that can tolerate higher than usual levels of temperatures. The temperature needs to be more than 65 degrees Fahrenheit minimum for the grass to grow. It doesn’t matter how hot the summer in your region gets after this because Buffalo is more likely to thrive nonetheless.
Buffalo’s drought tolerance is also quite high despite the hot weather. It will stay healthy with as little as half an inch of water every week. Even if you don’t have water for your turf for a few weeks, it will carry on without turning brown or yellow.
A few more weeks of drought might turn the grass brown eventually as it goes into dormancy. Still, the good news is that only a little water will be able to revive it back to its former glory.
– Has Good Cold Resistance
Most warm-growing grasses are not tolerant of cold weather at all. Buffalo is more resistant to colder weather compared to most other types. It will not die during the wintertime but will go into dormancy and might turn yellow or brown.
This dormancy is important because it allows the grass to produce seeds for the upcoming spring season. Beware of very cold below-freezing temperatures, though.
If the ground freezes over for the season, the underground roots and rhizomes will end up dying. You will have to sow the seeds yourself the next spring after tilling the soil.
– It Needs Only A Little Mowing
Summer is when this grass is undergoing a period of active growth. During this time, you will need to mow it every five to seven days. For the rest of the year, the grass does not grow very tall and will need infrequent mowing as per needed.
The ideal height for the grass blades of Buffalo is around three to four inches tall. This is the ideal height at which the root system stays the healthiest.
Bermuda grass is prone to get infested with broadleaf weed infestations. In that case, however, you will have to mow it a little more frequently for the rest of the year.
– Is Not Good With Handling Traffic
If you want the perfect grass for your lawn so that your kids and pets can play around in it, then Bermuda is probably not the best choice for you. This is a sensitive type of grass and does not take kindly to even being walked on.
If you use it even a little bit, its grass blades will begin to die and thin. Buffalo is also not known for good self-repair properties. So naturally, the grass will thin out over time, allowing competitive grass types and weeds to grow.
That is why you must plant it someplace not used so often. Then make sure that no one is allowed to walk on the grass unless out of absolute necessity.
– An Expensive Grass To Grow
Buffalo will cost you much more than other ordinary lawn and turf grasses. Even the grass seeds are quite pricey, and a majority of them might even be sterile.
If you want to go for sods or plugs, those will be even more expensive. Add to that the fact that this grass is highly intolerant of foot traffic and prone to getting attacked by weeds; spending money on Buffalo grass lawn care will always be risky.
– Highly Prone To Getting Attacked By Weeds
This grass takes its time establishing its thickness over the course of several growing seasons. However, its stolons grow distant from one another with empty spaces.
These spaces allow weeds and aggressive grass varieties to establish themselves in them. There is also the fact that Buffalo is not a competitive species and will not be able to get rid of weeds without external help.
What Is Bermuda Grass Best For?
Bermuda grass has major pros in that it is a very tough and durable grass that needs very little water and maintenance to grow. Major cons include the fact that it cannot tolerate shade and is very invasive.
– Bermuda Is A Popular Warm Season Grass
Bermuda is a grass that needs warm temperatures for its seedlings to germinate and for the grass blades to turn green. That is why it can only be grown in warmer regions and coastal areas where the summers are hot, and the winters are mild.
It is a perennial type of grass, so you will not have to sow its seeds every spring. In winter, Bermuda naturally goes into dormancy and seeds the lawn at the beginning of spring. When the soil temperature exceeds 65 degrees, these seeds germinate, and you will see new grass blades growing all over the lawn.
This grass tolerates and likes temperatures in the range of 95 to 100 degrees Fahrenheit. Even if you live in a really hot area, Bermuda will give you a lush lawn.
– It Has A Low Maintenance Cost
It’s okay if you don’t want to spend a fortune growing and maintaining a lawn. You can buy Bermuda grass seeds and sods, and plugs from the market at very reasonable prices.
The overall cost of maintenance for this grass is not too high either. It is fast growing, so you need to mow it more often. Other than that, its water, feed, and weeding needs are minimal and will save you quite some bucks compared to other common lawn grasses.
– Will Grow In All Soil Types
Another major plus point is that Bermuda grass is not particular when it comes to its soil requirements. Neither will you have to perform any intensive soil modification for its seeds to germinate.
Whether the soil in your lawn is sandy, clay-like, rich in nutrients, or not, Bermuda is sure to find its footing. The only thing the soil needs to be is well-draining so that moisture retention does not end up killing the roots.
That is why the only effort we partake in for our Bermuda is to till the soil at a depth of five to six inches when first sowing the seeds ourselves.
– Can Become Invasive If Not Maintained Regularly
Bermuda grass is considered a weed when left uncontrolled on its own. It is the most durable grass type and will survive all growing conditions. It has no particular soil needs and will tolerate drought as well.
It has a very high seed production rate and disperses it a lot. If there is a boundary you have set for your lawn, then you will have to uproot the grass spreading beyond it constantly.
It grows forward at an aggressive pace both underground and above it. It grows so thickly that it automatically makes it nearly impossible for any other grass or weed to grow alongside it.
– Bermuda Is a Durable Grass
No lawn grass is more durable than Bermuda for households with kids and pets. This grass will tolerate all sorts of use on it without any trouble. You can even plant it on children’s school playgrounds and have them play on it all day.
Bermuda also has excellent self-repair properties and a very fast growth habit. Provided its water and nutrient requirements are fulfilled, it will quickly fill up any empty spots that appear on its after careless use.
It is also durable in the sense that you can mow it about two inches tall. Some of Bermuda’s newer, hybrid varieties can even be cut down to be only one inch tall.
– Bermuda Is Not Shade Tolerant
Bermuda’s shade tolerance is on the low side, like most warm-season grasses such as Zoysia grass. It likes to stay under the full sun all day long. At the very least, the grass needs seven to eight hours of direct light to retain its green color.
Exposure to light intensity is lower than this, and your lawn might turn dull green or yellow. The overall growth and repair abilities are affected as well.
Bermuda is known to be a tough and thick grass type, but improper light conditions will cause it to thin out and lose its durability.
Frequently Asked Questions
– How Hot Can Bermuda Grass Tolerate?
Bermuda and St Augustine grass are two of the grass types that have the ability to tolerate as much as 100 degrees Fahrenheit.
It has a very high-temperature tolerance and needs hot weather to grow properly.
– Is Buffalo Grass Soft?
Yes, Buffalo is one of the softest grass varieties in the world. If you run a hand across its surface, you will feel that it is almost silky in texture.
– What Grass Is Better Than Bermuda Grass?
First, we think St Augustine grass is better than Bermuda in several respects. It has more tolerance for shade and a very fast growth habit. Another grass we think does better than Bermuda is Kentucky bluegrass. It is far softer and has a better ability to repair itself.
At the end of our review of Buffalo vs Bermuda grasses, we now know that Buffalo is a very soft and elegant type of grass, but it is also pretty sensitive to weed and foot traffic. On the other hand, Bermuda might be a bit rough and coarse, but it grows well in a large variety of growing conditions.
If you ask for our opinion, Bermuda is better suited for home lawns because you can hang around on the lawn, and your kids can also play over this grass. Buffalo is better suited for small turfs where there isn’t much traffic and a high level of maintenance can be carried out.
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