Planting UC Verde Buffalo grass plugs

Asked June 25, 2019, 2:50 PM EDT

Hi! I'm on the hot side of the mountains in The Dalles and with a regrading project want to replace the existing grass with Buffalo grass. I visited with the local master gardeners, but no one seemed to know much about Buffalo grass. So, first question! 1. Is there a reason Buffalo grass isn't very popular in The Dalles? I'm a bit concerned I've missed something because it seems perfect for the climate here! 2. When they specify "full sun," what does that mean? How many hours? 3. The yard is down to bare soil with the regrade and I won't be able to plant plugs until Spring 2020 - how would you suggest I keep the area weed free between now and then? I mentioned I might seed it with annual rye and then til it in next May when I return and was told it is invasive and I'd never get rid of it? Is there a better way? 4. I believe this is clay soil - should I apply compost?I've read that Buffalo grass prefers clay soil. If so, how many inches of compost? I am only in the US for 3 months in the summer so I hope to get the lawn well enough established between by September 2020 to keep the weeds out until the next year. Maybe I'm being optimistic :) Thanks, in advance, for your help. Best wishes, Teresa

Wasco County Oregon

1 Response

I am not very familiar with Buffalograss, but i know if does well in Nebraska. Considering this i am connecting you with some colleges from Nebraska that may be able to answer your questions...

Dr. Bill Kreuser: wkreuser2@unl.ed
Dr. Chas Schmid:
Dr. Roch Guassoin:

I suggest you email them as well!

I agree, the climate seems perfect for this plant. Full sun typically implies about 8 hours of direct sunlight on a summer day. I think annual rye grass would work well as a cover crop. Personally i would spray this with a herbicide like Round-Up in the spring just prior to planting the buffalograss. I would not till the material in, but rather scalp it down to the soil and possible sod cut, and remove the top 1/2" of material. I don't think compost is necessary; however, i would apply a starter fertilizer at the time of sprigging. Clay soil is great at holding these nutrients for plant use.