Buffalograss: Male and Female Plants
Buffalograss is a native prairie grass that can be used for low-maintenance lawns and other turf areas. It's an interesting and attractive turf, especially suited for low-maintenance, naturalistic areas. This segment demonstrates that male or female plants will provide different looks to your lawn. Produced by the Department of Communications at Kansas State University. For more information, visit our website at: http://www.kansasgreenyards.org
Buffalograss - Male and Female Plants
What we’re looking at here is buffalograss. Buffalograss is native to the high plains of Kansas, Nebraska, and South Dakota. Buffalograss is unique among the turfgrasses that we grow in Kansas because there are separate male and female plants. This is important for several reasons.
First, notice the buffalograss here. A lot of people may think that these seed heads sticking above the ground are seed heads. However, they’re really male flowers. Some people may want to harvest the seed heads to replant next year and grow more buffalograss. But, since they are only male flowers, not seed heads, they won’t grow any more buffalograss next year.
Next, it’s important to understand the difference in appearance between male and female plants. Typically, the female only varieties of buffalograss will usually have a darker green color, a denser growth habit, and look and perform better than varieties of buffalograss that have both male and female plants in the same stand.
Some people will choose to plant female only varieties so that they won’t have flowers sticking up, because they may think it looks weedy or more like a prairie. Other people choose to plant type of buffalograss because it looks like a prairie, and they enjoy that appearance of the buffalograss.
The female flower is located very close to the ground, and this is the part that produces the seed. Typically when you’re buying buffalo grass seed, you’re buying a mixture of both male and female plants. If you want to have a buffalograss stand that is pure female plants which don’t have the male flowers sticking up you can only plant that buffalograss by planting plugs or planting buffalograss sod. Usually, the female propagated clones are a better-looking turfgrass variety. It doesn’t have the male flower sticking up and they have a denser growth habit, and a darker green color.
This feature story prepared with Rodney St. John, former Turf Specialist with Kansas State University Research and Extension. For more information, visit your local county extension office or visit our website at KansasGreenYards.org.