Monthly Archives: April 2012

The Buffalo Grass Review Site – A Practical Buffalo Lawn Maintenance Guide For Professionals

A Practical Buffalo Lawn Maintenance Guide For Professionals. Chemicals, Fertilisers, Plus Other Lawn And Garden Consumables

By Todd Layt

Buffalo Lawn Maintenance Guide Included

I have contacted various companies and asked for information regarding new and old favourite chemicals, fertilisers, wetting agents and other lawn and garden consumables. Interestingly, there seems to be a real growth in combination products such as fertiliser-chemical combos, or fertiliser-wetting agent combos, and others.

The following is a summary of the product information. To find out detailed information about the products, contact the various suppliers or look at their web sites. Read the label and use this as the overriding source of information, and always follow that information when using these products.

This article has mainly been written for the lawn maintenance professional, but home gardeners that have access to their local Elders store for example, or can simply contact the distributor may be able to buy some of these products, but note they are usually in larger sizes, so you may need to use them over a few years. Some of these products are good for buffalo turf

This is an extremely detail rich article with tons of links to related information so is best viewed at the original source…click here and enjoy.

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How To Kill Kikuyu In Buffalo Grass | The Buffalo Grass Review Site

How To Kill Kikuyu In Buffalo Grass | The Buffalo Grass Review Site

By Todd Layt

Winter is the best time to kill Kikuyu in Buffalo grass. Kikuyu is still active in many parts of Australia, whilst the other grass types almost stop growing. Kikuyu can quickly overtake a lawn if not kept in check. If you have even a trace of Kikuyu, you will need to do one of the steps below for the next couple of winters, till the Kikuyu is eradicated. If the Kikuyu gets too thick in Buffalo, the only way to get rid of it is kill the whole lawn and start again, so it is worth taking the following advice.


Painting Kikuyu with a Round Up.

(click here for more photos) In Buffalo, the only answer is spot killing Kikuyu with Round Up. That means you can only get the Round Up on the plant you want to kill, and must not get any on the lawn you want to keep. There are three ways to do this:

  1. Spray the spot where the Kikuyu is, knowing the patch that gets the Round Up on it will die. This will kill the Kikuyu, but also some of the Buffalo grass around it. The disadvantage to this is you will have large dead spots till the lawn regrows, and that can take some time in winter. It is probably better to wait until early spring to do this.
  2. In winter, after letting the Kikuyu grow taller for three weeks with no mowing, a better solution is to paint the Kikuyu with a paint brush, making sure you get none on the grass underneath. The best way is to get a piece of cardboard, put it under the Kikuyu and paint the Kikuyu with Round Up. The cardboard will stop the Round Up getting on any of the Buffalo lawn. You may need to do this again in 3 weeks, as some Kikuyu may be missed.
  3. Again, after letting the Kikuyu get taller than the rest of the lawn for 3 to 4 weeks, grab the runner in your hand and inject Round Up with a needle into the runner of the Kikuyu. Make sure you DO NOT stab or inject yourself. Inject each runner in a few spots. You may need to do this again in 3 weeks, as some Kikuyu may be missed. The advantage of this is that you absolutely get none on any of the desired lawn.

If there is too much Kikuyu, the whole Buffalo
lawn may need to be killed and new turf laid.

click here for more Buffalo Turf Articles on The Soft Leaf Buffalo Grass Review Site…

Maintaining Buffalo Lawn Edges | Dedicated Edger Vs Brush Cutter. Which is best?

Maintaining Buffalo Lawn Edges | Dedicated Edger Vs Brush Cutter. Which is best?

By Todd Layt

A big chunk of a landscape maintenance contractors and home owner’s time is spent on trimming lawn edges. Is a dedicated edger better than a brush cutter? We timed and tested both types of machines and try to answer that question. The results could save you time and money.  Buffalo lawn edges are the best to edge. Certain plant and turf types can make maintaining those edges so much easier. Which hard edging materials are easy to maintain? 

Tanaka dedicated edging machine

Tanka – dedicated edger

MEY dedicated edger

MEY – dedicated egder

Honda brush cutter

Honda – brush cutter

I am still amazed how many contractors and home owners only use brush cutters to maintain edges, even spade type edges. Common sense would tell you a dedicated edging machine would be faster. So we experimented to see if this is true. Firstly we measured out a series of 8 meter long sections along an area of turf and garden without any hard edge. We tested Tanaka and MEY dedicated edging machines, then we tested an amazing new Honda brush cutter. We did the same on turf alongside concrete, and then around natural rocks, and finally along a Link Edge.

Along the area with no hard edging and along concrete edging, it was amazing how much faster the dedicated edger was. Over multiple tests, it took an average of 18 seconds to do the 8 meter section with the MEY edger, 20 seconds with the Tanaka, and 45 seconds with the brush cutter with a cord, and 50 seconds with a blade. So that means if you are using a brush cutter to maintain this type of edge, you are more than twice as slow. So why do so many keep using a brush cutter for these types of edges. The only answer I can think of is out of habit. If it was based on financials or time management, everyone would use dedicated edgers for less complex edges like these. Both the Tanaka and MEY machines were quicker if the edge had already been defined previously. Even to define the edge, the Tanaka and MEY edgers were much quicker than the brush cutter. The Tanaka took just 26 seconds and the MEY 25 seconds. Both did a good job. The Tanaka is lighter and easy to push on a defined edge, but the MEY machine could make deeper cuts and plowed through tough grass and made the initial edge a little easier. But both machines worked really well. I would recommend both of them. The Tanaka is probably easier to move from job to job, being lighter, but on hills, the extra weight made the MEY a good choice. The key here is that both machines are more than twice as fast as a brush cutter for spade type edges, or edges next to concrete and pavers. My suggestion is that every lawn mowing contractor or home owner on a large block should have a dedicated edger. With Buffalo turf for small areas a spade will do the job. Buffalo turf is really the only lawn you would try to maintain a spade edge with.

You will, however, still need a good brush cutter for many edging situations. For example, around rocks or other angular edges the brush cutter was much better. The dedicated edges simply did not work around these types of intricate edges. The bush cutter is also needed to trim vertical lawn growth near edges. The machine we tested was a Honda brush cutter. I have used Honda brush cutters for the last 5 years and have 2 different models. This new one is a big step up in quality and functionality. It felt great to use. The feeling is hard to explain, you just have to try it. It’s lighter, it’s still four stroke, it’s even quieter than the past models, and boy does it pack a punch. It had more power and trimmed better than my older model. So the verdict is every lawn mowing contractor should have a dedicated edger and a brush cutter in order to improve productivity. If you are a one man band or just maintaining your home, having the right tool will save you time and money, but if you are a larger company, having the right equipment will save wages easily enough to pay for a dedicated edger in a few months. Staff training is then essential to make sure that staff know which machine to use where.

If metal or aluminum edges like Link Edge are used, then the dedicated edgers did not work. Here you need a brush cutter, or even just a mower. The great thing about using link edge as a hard edge is that if you get the installation right, most of the edging is done with a mower. We had a gravel area on one side of the edge and turf on the other. If you get the level flush, that’s to say the edge, the turf and the gravel are all the same height exactly, we have kept an edge by simply mowing over the top, with the very occasional trim with a brush cutter and yearly squirt of roundup in a few spots. So if you have to install a hard edge, I must recommend Link Edge, provided the installation is done correctly. By just mowing over the top, you are saving a huge amount on maintenance. Link Edge is quick to install, and is a relatively cheap hard edge option. It looks modern and can save on maintenance. One thing I have learnt about using this product is that you need to choose the right version for your site. The standard one is OK for most situations; just make sure it is not sticking out of the ground too much when it’s installed. For areas that have possible vehicle traffic, it is essential to use the heavy duty version. Again, make sure it is flush with the ground, or vehicles may bend it. Installed correctly this product is fantastic.

Which Buffalo is best for less edging?

Choosing the right turf type can also save a lot of money on edging. Buffalo turf does not have rhizomes, so it is very easy to keep and edge without a hard edge or by just using a dedicated edging machine. The edger easily chops off the runners that grow above the ground. All Buffalo types are good for around gardens, although Palmetto does grow slower into the garden than all other popular Buffalo types, making it the best Buffalo for edging. Sapphire and Matilda are moderate edging Buffalo types. Kings Pride and Sir Walter are the fastest spreading, so unless you are happy to do more edging, the other types will probably suit you best.

Planting ideas to make edges easier to maintain

Another way to make defining an edge easy is to use border plants alongside a spade edge, then use Buffalo and use a dedicated edger regularly. Mondo Grass is one plant that works well particularly in shade. A lot of landscapers and home owners buy the Mondo in Instant Border Strips, which are basically 500mm long strips of Mondo. Silver-Edge is a new variegated Mondo that ads vibrancy to a border. Aranda is a new small Dianella that defines a border beautifully. Its compact foliage does not spread, and its low 200mm height makes it perfect for borders. It grows well in cold or hot humid regions. From Sydney south, Dianella Baby Bliss or Lomandra Savanna Blue make excellent blue foliage borders. If you want red type tones, for Sydney south use the only small growing Phormium called Sweet Mist, or in Queensland Rhoeo is a great choice if used correctly. All of these plants can have the grass sprayed out of it with Fusilade.

Maintaining turf edges on many sites can take as much time as mowing the lawns. So if I told you there is a way to halve the time taken to maintain some edges, is that of interest to you? The dedicated edging machine does this. More time can be saved using the right type of hard edge, and even more time can be saved by using the right turf and the right plants. Happy edging.

Click here for more Buffalo Turf Articles on the ‘Softleaf Buffalo Grass Reviews’ site

The Buffalo Grass Review Site – Maintaining Your Buffalo Lawn

Maintaining Your Buffalo Lawn | How To Take Care of Your Buffalo and Protect it From Pests

By Todd Layt

Maintaining your buffalo lawn requires different maintenance schedules than other types of turf. Firstly, Buffalo only has stolons and no rhizomes, so it is very important not to burn it off with chemicals or fertiliser. With Couch varieties, damaged areas can often but not always reshoot from rhizomes.

I always recommend a good slow release fertiliser for Buffalo to be applied in early spring and early autumn for cooler areas, and mid autumn for warmer areas. I find the autumn fertiliser is the most important, especially for those varieties like Palmetto and Sapphire that have good winter colour, as this is what keeps them greener in winter.

Too many fertilises per year are not only a waste, but can lead to excess maintenance, including more mowing and increased watering requirements. The only exception to this can be highly sandy soils, where extra fertilising may be required.

Buffalos are generally better at out competing weeds than turf varieties like Couch, Kikuyu and Fescue. However, if you do get weeds in them, more care must be taken to remove them. If broad leaf weeds get into Buffalo, there are some chemicals that can be used in some varieties. Never use Dicamba, as this is generally deadly to Buffalo.

The most widely available chemical is Bromoxynil plus MCPA. (Bromocide MA, or Bindii and Broadleaf for soft leaf Buffalo by Yates). These are generally safe on Buffalo lawn, provided you follow the instructions on the label, although you have to be extra careful using any of these chemicals on the ST varieties of Buffalo, as I find they burn very easily. ST varieties may need to be hand weeded for Broadleaf weeds. Provided the label is followed, I find that Palmetto, Sir Walter and Sapphire have good tolerance of these chemicals.

To remove grass weeds from Buffalo …read more

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The Buffalo Grass Review Site | Buffalo Turf Installation And Care Instructions

Buffalo Turf Installation And Care Instructions | How to Install and Care for Your Buffalo Turf

By Todd Layt

Quick Links To: How to Install Buffalo Turf | Watering Tips | Maintenance Tips

Before You Begin Your Buffalo Turf Installation, Read The Instructions Below Very Carefully…

  1. Remove all building waste & weeds (only if needed).
  2. Spread a free draining soil to a depth of 7-15cm (roots can penetrate much deeper) or better still loosen ground and mix in appropriate soil conditioners. Some Gypsum may be needed as well if the soil is of a clay type. Phone a soil supplier for more advice on this option. For sandy soils, simply mix in organic material and rotary hoe. This will ensure far less water is required when the lawn is established.
  3. Level the surface using a screeding board, lawn leveller, rack or similar device.
  • Apply a low analysis fertilizer with an N:P:K of approximately 5:6:5 or lawn starter fertilizer to the surface and incorporate with a rake. You can bypass this stage if you apply a slow release fertiliser after the lawn has rooted out.
  • In hot months, moisten the soil but do not make the soil too wet that you can not walk on it. Do not lay the buffalo grass on hot, dry soil unless you lay a small area, hand water it then lay another area and repeat.
  • Lay the buffalo grass as soon as possible after delivery.
  • On hot days, lay a section of the buffalo grass and lightly water. Repeat until all turf is laid. On cool days, the buffalo grass can be laid all at once. Roll and water thoroughly within one hour of laying turf.
  • Water thoroughly for 7-10 days so turf is kept moist, or until the buffalo lawn is established; take care that the water is saturating the soil beneath the turf. In colder months, the buffalo lawn will take longer to establish. The turf should not dry out until roots are established.
  • When the soil has firmed and the Buffalo Grass has rooted down, usually 1 to 1/2 to 3 weeks after laying (longer during winter), mow lightly to tidy up your new buffalo lawn.
  • Watering Tips…read more

    via… softleafbuffalograss.com.au

    Click here for more Buffalo Turf Articles…

    Sir Walter Buffalo Turf | Soft Leaf Buffalo Grass Reviews

    Sir Walter Buffalo Turf | Soft Leaf Buffalo Grass Reviews

    Overview

    Editors Choice. Worth considering.

    A good all round Buffalo Grass with good wear and disease tolerance and solid performance. More expensive than most Buffalo types and needs more mowing and edging.

    Detailed Review

    In general, Sir Walter performs very well and is a good all round Buffalo with adequate winter colour, good wear tolerance, and good disease tolerance. It is also good with chemicals that can be sprayed on Buffalo grass. It is a coarser leaf Buffalo which grows faster than the low maintenance types like Palmetto. Based on the independent Hal and DPI Reseach*, Sir Walter had a leaf width of 7.36mm, which was wider than all others in the trial. Kings pride was similar in width at 7.01 mm. Sir Walter grew faster across the ground and grew taller compared to Shademaster and Palmetto based on Hal and DPI Research* and other research. In Horticultural Australian research it performed well in all performance categories, having been rated to have moderate shade tolerance, good salt tolerance for Buffalo turf and good wear tolerance. Sir Walter is a soft Buffalo to lie on. It is more reliable than the ST varieties, softer than Kings Pride, has better winter colour than Shademaster and is less thatchy than Matilda. It has good drought tolerance for a Buffalo, although unlike Palmetto and Sapphire, it has not been tested in the SAWS (Texas, USA) drought tolerance study. It is a good looking broad leaf Buffalo with a slight blue tinge to its mainly green colour. It deserves its spot as one of the three editors choice Buffalo types for Australia; the main categories that reduced its appeal compared to the other two editors choice grasses are its higher average price, and its faster growth rate which results in more mowing and edging. It was bred by Buchanan Turf Supplies Pty Ltd and first sold in 1996.

    Sir Walter spent millions on advertising over the past few years so firstly when considering this grass you need to ask yourself the question, is this grass more expensive than other types, and if so is it due to all the advertising?

    *HAL Project TU04013 (Completion date 30 November 2009).
    Adaptation and management of Australian buffalo grass cultivars for shade and water conservation. Final report.
    Alan Duff, Dr Don Loch and Dr Tim Colmer
    Queensland Primary Industries and Fisheries Department of Employment, Economic Development and Innovation

     

     

    Sir Walter Lawn

    Sir Walter Buffalo grass

    Sir Walter, like other Buffalo’s, is dense enough to help stop weeds.

    Sir Walter Buffalo Grass

    Sir Walter and other Buffalos may produce seed head in summer, this means more mowing.

     

    For full disclosure purposes, Ozbreed and the editors are not related in any way to Sir Walter and have no right to grow, sell or license others to grow and sell the Sir Walter variety of grass. The views expressed here are views of the editors and writers and are for comparison use only.

    Click here for more reviews of Buffalo Turfgrass

    Sapphire Instant Turf | Soft Leaf Buffalo Grass Reviews

     

    Overview

    Editors Choice. Best looking, best performing Buffalo.

    If you want a Buffalo Grass that wears well, grows well in shade and is soft, beautiful and finer, then Sapphire Turf is for you.

    Detailed Review

    One of the biggest complaints about Buffalo grass is that it has a wide broad leaf. Many prefer a finer leafed grass. This is where Sapphire comes in. It has a much finer leaf than all other good performing Buffalo Grass types, and to top this off, much of the time it folds its leaf in half making it look even finer textured.

    Sapphire is easily the best looking Buffalo of any reviewed. Sapphire Buffalo was a seedling selection from the older variety of Sir Walter. The main difference between Sapphire and Sir Walter is that Sapphire has a much finer leaf and is generally much better value for money. In some regions it sells for the same price as Sir Walter, yet in many others it is often 10 – 15% lower cost. Of the good Buffalo types, Sapphire is by far the finest textured Buffalo. In sample grass plots people always gravitate to it because of its texture. In the recent Australian Horticulture research (Hal), Sapphire had the best rating in shade for 30%, 50%, and 70% shade levels. Sapphire has good winter colour about the same as Sir Walter, not quite as good as Palmetto. It is a moderately fast growing type of grass requiring more mowing than Palmetto, but a little less than Sir Walter and Kings Pride. Sapphire is mostly in the top statistical group, like Sir Walter, for wear tolerance in shade. In the SAWS (Texas, USA) drought tolerance study (click here) Sapphire rated the best in 2007 of any buffalo grass after 30 days without water, and number 2 behind Floratam after 60 Days. Floratam is not available in Australia, because Floratam is one of the most unattractive grasses in the world. If you have ever seen Floratam you will understand. Sapphire wins one category hands down compared to all other good Buffalo types; it is the finest, best looking Buffalo Grass, yet when it comes to performance in testing it was mainly in the best statistical group for all performance categories. It is best in shade, great for wear, good with chemicals, disease resistant, one of the best in drought and has about the same good winter colour as Sir Walter. Sapphire is well regarded as a reliable grass, and is known to transplant quicker than most Buffalo types.

    Click here to visit the Official Sapphire Turf website…