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BOUTELOUA dactyloides

Image of Bouteloua dactyloides

Gerald L. Klingaman

Family

Poaceae

Botanical Name

BOUTELOUA dactyloides

Plant Common Name

Grama Grass

General Description

The dense turf grass, buffalograss, is a warm season perennial native to the Central Plains of the North America, from Manitoba, Canada down to Mexico. It is very drought tolerant and was one of the most important food sources for the great herds of bison that once roamed the plains.

This is one of the best native grasses for turf and lawns. It has curly, thin, gray-green blades and spreads by both stolons (above ground lateral stems) and rhizomes (below ground lateral stems). Its grassy late-season flowers are dioecious, which means male and female flowers are produced on different plants. Small, pollen producing male flowers are grouped on tall thin stems held above the leaves, while the female flowers are held on shorter, denser spikes that receive the wind-distributed pollen grains.

Full sun and alkaline, well-drained soil are essential for good growth. Buffalograss prefers clay-loam and performs poorly in sandy soil. It is best suited to low-maintenance situations. It has good pest resistance, drought and cold tolerance and requires low to moderate fertilization. When subjected to drought, it responds by going dormant and turning brown. Once water is available, it will green up again. Buffalograss has marginal wear tolerance despite the fact it’s a low water grass. Wet conditions and low light will quickly kill plants.

Plant this resilient lawn grass in low-water areas. Most cultivars are low-growing, so mowing is generally not required. When left unmown, the blades have a natural grace and ripple in the breeze. Plant buffalograss by seed, sod or plugs, alone or in combination with blue gama grass (Bouteloua gracilis).

Characteristics

  • AHS Heat Zone

    10 - 5

  • USDA Hardiness Zone

    4 - 10

  • Sunset Zone

    1a, 1b, 2a, 2b, 3a, 3b, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 14, 18, 19, 20, 21

  • Plant Type

    Grass

  • Sun Exposure

    Full Sun, Partial Sun

  • Height

    2"-8" / 5.1cm - 20.3cm

  • Bloom Time

    Summer, Late Summer, Early Fall, Fall

  • Native To

    North-Central United States, Central United States, South-Central United States

Growing Conditions

  • Soil pH

    Neutral, Alkaline

  • Soil Drainage

    Well Drained

  • Soil type

    Clay, Loam

  • Growth Rate

    Fast

  • Water Requirements

    Drought Tolerant, Average Water

  • Habit

    Mat-forming

  • Seasonal Interest

    Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter

Ornamental Features

  • Flower Interest

    Insignificant

  • Flower Color

    Green, Tan

  • Fruit Color

    Tan

  • Foliage Color (Spring)

    Green, Blue Green

  • Foliage Color (Summer)

    Green, Blue Green, Brown

  • Foliage Color (Fall)

    Green, Blue Green

  • Foliage Color (Winter)

    Green, Blue Green, Brown

  • Fragrant Flowers

    No

  • Fragrant Fruit

    No

  • Fragrant Foliage

    No

  • Bark or Stem Fragrant

    No

  • Flower Petal Number

    Single

  • Repeat Bloomer

    Yes

  • Showy Fruit

    No

  • Edible Fruit

    No

  • Showy Foliage

    No

  • Foliage Texture

    Fine

  • Foliage Sheen

    Matte

  • Evergreen

    Semi-Evergreen

  • Showy Bark

    No

Special Characteristics

  • Usage

    Lawns and Turf

  • Sharp or Has Thorns

    No

  • Invasive

    No

  • Self-Sowing

    Yes