by David Salman

Legacy Buffalo Grass on front lawn
A 'Legacy' buffalo grass lawn thriving in arid Boise, Idaho.

We Americans love our lawns. And a nice green lawn can beautify our landscapes and help to cool down the air in our surroundings. But there are aspects to lawns that need changing. And one big thing, especially in times of drought, is reducing the water needed to irrigate our lawns.

Alternatives to Water-Thirsty Lawns

One excellent alternative to having a water thirsty lawn is to convert your turf to a low water native turf grass. Or start with a native grass lawn when a new property needs a new lawn. One of the best all around native grasses for lawn use would be Buffalo Grass Buchloe dactyloides (pronounced >Boo CLO ee< > dac tee Lloyd ees<). This rugged native grass is widespread over much of the drier sections of the Great Plains and has been bred by agronomists in the past as a pasture grass. Until recently, Buffalo grass had only been available as pasture grass varieties which are grown from seed. And Buffalo grass seed is notoriously difficult to germinate evenly when sown for a new lawn.

But grass breeders at the University of Nebraska developed a dwarf, tight growing selection of Buffalo grass named of ‘Legacy’. ‘Legacy’ lawns are a quantum leap in quality when compared to the old seed grown varieties that grow to 8 inches in height un-mowed, and contain both male and female plants. (The male plants have hard, tough-on-the-feet flower heads.)

As compared to seed grown pasture type Buffalo grass, ‘Legacy’ is:

  • An all female clone that is planted from plugs (rooted grass sprigs) solving the problem of patchy Buffalo grass lawns grown from seed.
  • Grown as plugs planted on 12 inch by 12 inch centers. And it will fill in completely (in the warm months of summer) in about 3 months.
  • Pollen-free (no male plants) and has been bred to mature to an unmowed height of only 4 inches and can be mowed as little as once a month to keep it tidy. This saves time and money.
  • Very water wise needing only 2 to 3 inches of inches of water per month to keep it green and lush saving homeowners between 40 and 75% of the water required for thirsty Kentucky Bluegrass depending on your soil type and average daytime temperatures.
Buffalo Grass Lawn
Pictured here is a beautiful ‘Legacy’ lawn that I spied on a recent trip to Boise, ID.

‘Legacy’ will grow in any soil type, but it is most water wise when grown in clay or clay-loam soils. It does best in regions that get 30 inches of precipitation of less. ‘Prestige’,another University of Nebraska variety plug grown variety was breed for higher rainfall, more humid areas of the US including the Southeast.

Growing Zones for Buffalo Grass Lawns
Growing Zones ofr Buffalo Grass Lawns

Summer is the ideal time for planting ‘Legacy’ and ‘Prestige’ because Buffalo grass grows fastest in the heat of summer and spreads rapidly to form a thick, deeply rooted green carpet of lawn.

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    Prestige Buffalo Grass (Buchloe dactyloides Prestige) is moisture and humidity tolerant, and outperforms all other varieties of buffalo grass in the southern and southeastern United States. Prestige Buffalo Grass has fine soft blades with a stunning green color. Prestige Buffalo Grass is considered drought tolerant, has extremely deep roots, and requires very little supplemental water once established. It grows to a height of 4-6 inches, so mowing is optional, and dependent on the look desired. It has exceptional disease and insect resistance and a very low pollen rating. We recommend using Organic Plant Magic as a root dip to spur grass plug growth.

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    Learn More
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    $59.95
    Per Tray of 70

    Legacy Buffalograss (Buchloe dactyloides Legacy) is a premium-quality native turf grass variety bred by University of Nebraska agronomists to be a drought tolerant, low care turf grass with the lush look of traditional bluegrass or fescue lawns. We recommend using Organic Plant Magic as a root dip to spur grass plug growth. Drought resistant/drought tolerant plant (xeric).

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Text and Photos by Founder and Chief Horticulturist David Salman.

© All articles are copyrighted by High Country Gardens. Republishing an entire High Country Gardens blog post or article is prohibited without written permission. Please feel free to share a short excerpt with a link back to the article on social media websites, such as Facebook and Pinterest.

  1. Cynodon hybrida Dog Tuff Grass Plugs

    Dog Tuff™ Grass (Cynodon ‘PWIN04S’) is an amazing, highly drought-resistant lawn grass perfect for high traffic and play areas. It has excellent durability in yards with dogs a...

    Learn More
    Dog Tuff Grass Plugs Dog Tuff Grass Plugs Cynodon hybrida Dog Tuff
    $59.95
    Per Tray of 70

    Dog Tuff™ Grass (Cynodon ‘PWIN04S’) is an amazing, highly drought-resistant lawn grass perfect for high traffic and play areas. It has excellent durability in yards with dogs and is resistant to yellowing from dog urine. Once established, this warm-season grass is highly weed resistant, deep-rooted and provides a soft, cushioned feel for bare feet. It only grows 2 ½-4 inches high, so you need not mow it unless you prefer a manicured look. 2015 Green Thumb Award Winner. We recommend using Organic Plant Magic as a root dip to spur grass plug growth. Questions? Download our Dog Tuff ™ Grass Planting Guide.

    Learn More
  2. Blue Grass Bella Grass Plugs, Blue Grass Bella Plugs for shade and semi-shade!

    Bella Bluegrass Grass Plugs for shade and semi-shade are a truly revolutionary new dwarf turf bluegrass that requires 10-20% less water than traditional bluegrass. Bella Bluegrass ha...

    Learn More
    Bluegrass Bella Grass Plugs Bella™ Bluegrass Plugs
    $59.95
    Per Tray of 70

    Bella Bluegrass Grass Plugs for shade and semi-shade are a truly revolutionary new dwarf turf bluegrass that requires 10-20% less water than traditional bluegrass. Bella Bluegrass has excellent shade tolerance (up to 80%) and doesn't require mowing as the grass blades only to grow to a height of 2 to 3 inches. We recommend using Organic Plant Magic as a root dip to spur grass plug growth.

    Learn More
  3. Buchloe dactyloides UC Verde Grass Plugs, Buchloe dactyloides UC Verde, UC Verde Buffalo Grass Plugs for Coastal CA and Desert SW

    UC Verde Buffalograss (Buchloe dactyloides) produces a dense turf of soft, bright-green, very fine leaf blades. It is recommended for planting in the high heat conditions found in th...

    Learn More
    UC Verde Buffalo Grass Plugs UC Verde Buffalograss Plugs Buchloe dactyloides UC Verde
    $59.95
    Per Tray of 70

    UC Verde Buffalograss (Buchloe dactyloides) produces a dense turf of soft, bright-green, very fine leaf blades. It is recommended for planting in the high heat conditions found in the lower elevation of the desert Southwest and California. UC Verde Buffalograss It is drought resistant (xeric), requiring only 1/4 inch of water per week, and has a very low pollen rating. Growing 4-8 inches, it requires mowing only once per year. We recommend using Organic Plant Magic as a root dip to spur grass plug growth.

    Learn More
  4. Bouteloua gracilis Hachita Grass Plugs, Bouteloua gracilis Hachita, Hachita Blue Grama Grass Plugs

    Hachita Blue Grama Grass Plugs (Bouteloua gracilis) is the most vigorous selection of this beautiful native grass from the western Great Plains. Beloved for its "eyelash" seed heads,...

    Learn More
    Hachita Blue Grama Grass Plugs Hachita Blue Grama Grass Plugs Bouteloua gracilis Hachita
    $59.95
    Per Tray of 70

    Hachita Blue Grama Grass Plugs (Bouteloua gracilis) is the most vigorous selection of this beautiful native grass from the western Great Plains. Beloved for its "eyelash" seed heads, it can also be mowed once a month to create a soft, inviting lawn. Quite xeric, 'Hachita' Blue Grama thrives in both sandy soils and clay! You can also interplant plugs with wildflowers to grow a colorful, low-care short grass prairie. For a turf type lawn, plant plugs 6" apart. We recommend using Organic Plant Magic as a root dip to spur grass plug growth. 4" tall (15" with seed heads).

    Learn More
  5. Prestige Grass Plugs after 3 months

    Prestige Buffalo Grass (Buchloe dactyloides Prestige) is moisture and humidity tolerant, and outperforms all other varieties of buffalo grass in the southern and southeastern United ...

    Learn More
    Prestige Buffalo Grass Plugs Prestige Buffalo Grass Plugs Buchloe dactyloides Prestige
    $59.95
    Per Tray of 70

    Prestige Buffalo Grass (Buchloe dactyloides Prestige) is moisture and humidity tolerant, and outperforms all other varieties of buffalo grass in the southern and southeastern United States. Prestige Buffalo Grass has fine soft blades with a stunning green color. Prestige Buffalo Grass is considered drought tolerant, has extremely deep roots, and requires very little supplemental water once established. It grows to a height of 4-6 inches, so mowing is optional, and dependent on the look desired. It has exceptional disease and insect resistance and a very low pollen rating. We recommend using Organic Plant Magic as a root dip to spur grass plug growth.

    Learn More
  6. Buchloe dactyloides Legacy Grass Plugs, Buchloe dactyloides Legacy, Legacy Buffalo Grass Plugs

    Legacy Buffalograss (Buchloe dactyloides Legacy) is a premium-quality native turf grass variety bred by University of Nebraska agronomists to be a drought tolerant, low care turf gra...

    Learn More
    Legacy Buffalo Grass Plugs Legacy Buffalo Grass Plugs Buchloe dactyloides Legacy
    $59.95
    Per Tray of 70

    Legacy Buffalograss (Buchloe dactyloides Legacy) is a premium-quality native turf grass variety bred by University of Nebraska agronomists to be a drought tolerant, low care turf grass with the lush look of traditional bluegrass or fescue lawns. We recommend using Organic Plant Magic as a root dip to spur grass plug growth. Drought resistant/drought tolerant plant (xeric).

    Learn More
  7. Bouteloua gracilis Seed Hachita, Bouteloua gracilis Hachita, Blue Grama Grass

    Blue Grama Grass Hachita (Bouteloua gracilis) is an excellent native turf grass that has good drought tolerance and low maintenance requirements. It grows to a height of 4-12", inclu...

    Learn More
    Bouteloua gracilis Seed Hachita - 1 LB Hachita Blue Grama Grass Seed Bouteloua gracilis Hachita
    $39.95
    Per 1 Pound

    Blue Grama Grass Hachita (Bouteloua gracilis) is an excellent native turf grass that has good drought tolerance and low maintenance requirements. It grows to a height of 4-12", including its "eyelash-like" seed heads. Mowing is optional, depending on whether an informal meadow look is desired. Hachita is quick to germinate, is excellent for erosion control and drought resistant. Hachita requires full sun, well-drained conditions and thrives in sandy or clay soils.

    Learn More
  8. Annual Rye Grass Seeds, Lolium multiflorum, Annual Rye Grass

    Annual Rye Grass (Lolium multiflorum) is an easy to grow and attractive grass that adds nitrogen to your soil. Use for quick erosion control or as a cover-crop. Annual....

    Learn More
    Annual Rye Grass Seeds Annual Rye Grass Seed Lolium multiflorum
    As low as $9.99
    Per 5 Pounds

    Annual Rye Grass (Lolium multiflorum) is an easy to grow and attractive grass that adds nitrogen to your soil. Use for quick erosion control or as a cover-crop. Annual.

    Learn More