Buffalo grass has undergone something of a renaissance in Australia. Referred to as Ol’ Scratchy until recently, the Palmetto Soft Leaf Buffalo Grass of today doesn’t feature course or sharp leaf blades. One problem it is susceptible to however, is grass runners that separate and sit on top of the lawn.
Over time, the Buffalo Grass runners will grow over the top of each other. Eventually, they will join together to completely smother the runners and matter underneath. The smothered runners and leaf matter will die off and the dead thatch remains, giving you some major headaches. Left untreated, a thick layer develops, causing a number of problems. To stop grass runners dead, these are your best options.
The easiest way to deal with grass runners is to mow your lawn quite short every year or two. However if you haven’t mown the grass for over a year and level of thatch is very high, you will need to gradually lower the lawn height over several lawn mowings. In a high thatch lawn, it’s possible that the roots of the top runners may be rooted within the thatch itself.
In this case, the top layer will need to be removed leaving the middle layer behind, allowing it to reshoot and root itself down into the soil. During this time, the bottom runners will also reshoot, and the middle layer will have rejuvenated and grown down again, rooting into the ground. When the lawn starts looking healthy, you can gradually reduce the height once more.
Top dressing is a simple process whereby you spread some sandy loam top dressing mix over the top of the lawn using a shovel. Be sure to spread it out with a rake so that some of the leaves are showing through. This helps the lawn to breathe, ensuring that it’s not smothered.
If it’s possible, apply a slow release fertilizer to the lawn prior to top dressing. By doing this the runners will break up more easily and rapidly. It’s a good idea to get into the habit of top dressing your lawn every three or four years, providing the grass isn’t too tall. You can even use top dressing to fix uneven patches and undulations in your lawn.
This type of machine is useful on all types of grass, not just Buffalo grass. It is easier to treat the grass this way than by mowing it, provided you don’t dethatch the lawn to soil level. It’s important to only work on removing the top runners because if you go too low and remove all of the above ground runners you are at risk of losing your lawn.
If you’re having trouble with grass runners in your Palmetto Soft Leaf Buffalo Grass, it’s always best to get expert advice from a lawn specialist. For all your lawn care needs, contact Rivers Edge Turf on 02 4579 9009 or go directly to their website for more information.