Couch and Buffalo
16 November 2021
Both Couch and Buffalo grasses are great performers, but how do you know if one variety is better suited to your area? In this blog, we look at the key characteristics of both couch and buffalo grasses to help you choose the right variety for your area.
Buffalo grass is a warm-season grass, native to North and South America, parts of Africa, and the Caribbean. Most buffalo varieties on the market in Australia are soft leaf buffalo.
Buffalo grasses have a broadleaf and only have above-ground stems known as solons to establish from.
Couch grass (sometimes called Bermuda) is a warm-season grass that is native to most areas of the eastern hemisphere. This grass will have a fast growth rate and is known to be highly drought and wear tolerant.
Couch grasses have a fine leaf. This grass grows from both above ground and below ground runners with a very strong growth habit.
Our Top Pick For Buffalo Grass
Sir Walter DNA Certified Buffalo has been born and bred right here in Australia and has stood the test in time. Sir Walter DNA Certified will grow in full sun, in shade, is low maintenance, and has a high wear tolerance, great with pets and kids. This grass is soft to touch, feels great underfoot while looking fantastic!
Our Top Pick For Couch Grass
TifTuf Hybrid Bermuda has a superior drought tolerance, is tough, and has a speedy recovery if damaged. TifTuf has a beautiful soft fine leaf, is well suited to full sun areas, is very drought tolerant, is great for use in high wear areas. This grass is a great choice for the home lawn whether you are wanting to keep an immaculate lawn or need grass to keep up with the pets and kids!
Buffalo grasses have a broader leaf that can absorb more sunlight than other varieties. This helps make buffalo one of the most shade tolerant turf types, needing a minimum of 3-4 hours of direct light to thrive.
Most couch grasses have a finer leaf and love full sun areas. Couch needs a bare minimum of 5-6 hours of direct light to perform well.
Wear tolerance does look at a few characteristics of the grass. These are how much traffic an area can handle before it gets damaged and how quickly it can repair itself if damage does occur.
Buffalo grasses can handle a good amount of traffic as they have very robust and hardy above-ground runners (stolons). However, they will be a bit slower to repair than other varieties like couch and kikuyu as the grass needs to spread back over the area with its above-ground stolons.
Couch grasses are too able to handle a good amount of traffic and have a fast-repairing nature. Their fast-repairing nature comes from having both above and below ground stolons to repair themselves from.
When mowing both couch and buffalo it is best to never remove more than one-third of the leaf blade with each mow unless dethatching. This will help avoid causing any extra stress to the lawn.
Buffalo grasses are best mown between 20 to 60mm, a bit higher throughout winter and shorter throughout the warmer months. As buffalo is a warm-season variety it will need more frequent mows during the warmer months. In the cooler months, it will slow down in growth and may only need a mow once every few weeks.
Couch grasses do have a fast growth habit and will require more frequent mowing than buffalo varieties in the warmer months. It can be mown as short as 4mm or let to grow out to 36mm. Couch too is a warm-season variety, needing frequent mows in the warmer months.
Both couch and buffalo grasses do have a good drought tolerance. Once a lawn is established you should only need to water the lawn when it needs it. If you do need to irrigate, give the lawn a good soaking for around 30 mins. Once established less frequent watering’s for longer is usually best. This will help encourage your lawn to grow its roots deeper into the soil, improving its drought tolerance. Signs that your lawn needs water include wilting or drying out leaves. Buffalo grasses will also have a curled leaf.
TifTuf Hybrid Bermuda is an extremely drought tolerant couch variety, requiring considerably less water to maintain its appearance. TifTuf is also the only grass in Australia to be awarded the Smart Approved WaterMark for its low water requirements.
As always, if you have any more questions please don’t hesitate to contact us for free expert advice on 1800ALLTURF (1800255873) or 07 5543 8304.
WOULD YOU LIKE MORE INFORMATION?
Contact us for expert advice, or come & say hi at our office in Tamborine!