Buffalo grass has come to our attention in recent years during our search for low water needy lawns. In this regard, warm season grasses that grow with underground stolons have proven to meet our low watering needs. However, since all warm season grasses go dormant from late fall through winter, the rich summer green upper foliage of this grass is often removed with the last mowing of fall.
The ‘UC Verde’ selection of buffalo grass has been hybridized in recent years to keep a low growth habit, 5-6 inches high, and to maintain its green foliage character throughout the winter. The key to having a green Buffalo grass lawn in the winter is to avoid mowing it in the fall and removing the green grass tips. This strategy results in a pleasing green winter lawn. As can be seen in the images of this grass, good success can be achieved with this management choice. Otherwise, a late fall mowing that cuts the grass to 3-4 inches will expose pale colored stems that will be visible and persist through late spring. The new growing season of this grass begins in April when warm weather returns; its most vigorous growth cycle is July through September. Come and see a test plot of this grass at the Chino Basin Water Conservation District’s Water Wise Demonstration Garden.