Bison Buffalograss

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What is Buffalograss?

Buffalograss is a warm-season, perennial native grass that forms a sod.  Buffalograss is native to the Great Plains from Canada to Mexico.  It is a dioecious species having separate male and female plants.  The male plant when flowering has an erect stem with a flag-like spike.  The female plant forms a burr below the canopy which contains the seed.  Buffalograss has fine textured leaves and spreads by runners or stolons.  Buffalograss prefers well drained clay loam and clay soils.  Buffalograss is thought of as a “dual-purpose” grass since it has long been used for both range as well as turf applications.  The low-maintenance aspect of buffalograss has created great interest in developing new turfgrass cultivars with increased leaf density, faster establishment, and improved color.

grassy field

Bison Buffalograss was released in 1990 by the Oklahoma Agricultural Experiment Station and the USDA-ARS. Bison has many advantages and applications for where a native, non-invasive sod-forming grass is desired. Bison is low-maintenance grass that gives you rugged performance

Advantages

  • Drought tolerant
  • Cold tolerant
  • Widely adaptive
  • Disease resistant
  • Easily established from seed

Applications

  • Pasture and range
  • Soil stabilization
  • Prairie restoration
  • Highway right-of-ways
  • Commercial sites

For Pasture and Range

Bison buffalograss is an excellent short grass for pasture and range. Bison's prostrate growth habit and dense sod allow it to withstand heavy grazing. Research data has indicated Bison equals or exceeds Texoka in forage yield and quality, as measured by in vitro dry matter, crude protein, and acid and neutral detergent fibers.

Soil Stabilization

Bison buffalograss can provide effective erosion control for highway right-of-ways, waterways, etc. Bison can reduce highway maintenance costs as compared to other sod-forming grasses by decreasing or eliminating mowing.

Prairie Restoration & Native Landscaping

Bison is an excellent choice for the interseeding of wildflowers and other natives.  Bison does not have the shoot density of the newer varieties such as Cody and Bowie and therefore makes a great complementary grass to wildflowers and other native grasses like Blue Grama, Sideoats Grama, and Little Bluestem.

Commercial Sites

Bison is an attractive and environmentally sensitive lawn grass requiring less fertilizing, watering, and mowing than other turfgrass.  Bison has one of the highest ratings for genetically green color. Bison can maintain its turf with only 1 to 2 lbs of nitrogen per square foot per season. Mowing frequency can be reduced to only once or twice in some cases not at all depending on the height of the lawn desired. Bison will generally require half the water that other turfgrasses use once established.

Planting Guidelines

  1. Prepare a firm, weed-free seed bed on a well-drained site.
  2. Test soil before planting; fertilize and lime as recommended by your local County Extension Office.
  3. Plant when the soil temperature reaches 60ºF in the spring.
  4. Plant seeds 1/4" to 1/2" deep by broadcasting or drilling. Firm the soil by rolling and watering.
  5. If irrigation is available, keep soil moist to ensure germination and seeding establishment.
  6. Once seedlings have emerged, less watering is needed.

 Seeding Rates

 Pasture and range
 Highway Right-of-Ways
 Prairie Restoration

 6 to 8 lbs PLS per acre
 Soil Stabilization  10 to 20 lbs PLS per acre
 Commercial Sites   2 to 3 lbs per 1000 sq ft
bison grass field

Buffalograss Seedling and Growth Guide

18 days after planting                                                             28 days after planting

34 days after planting                                                             65 days after planting