18 March 2015

Buffalo Grass Plugs, Sod and Seeds

Gardens change a lot with our helpful direction or without it. It seems that every fall we change our minds about how we want to re-shape our 2.5 acre piece of solitude and source of inspiration and exercise "next year".

Last year the patch of Joe Pye Weed and other tall native butterfly feeder plants grew beyond the bounds of beauty and well past my ability to manage its spread.

So, I moved a dozen of the plants to new locations where they can thrive farther away from the house, Jon mowed it in the fall and now its ready for this season's change to Buffalo Grass.

Why Buffalo Grass? It is cold and drought tolerant, can be walked on, resists diseases, needs less mowing, etc. This Nebraska site points out that the roots go to 3-feet deep, finding moisture and bringing up nutrients. And, I love this quote, "Buffalograss adapts to a wide range of soil types but is
best suited for naturally fertile, clay, and loam upland soils, where maintenance requirements will be lowest."


Though most garden centers and big box stores sell mostly Bermuda and Fescue seed, Johnston Seed offers the seed. However, we don't want to start with seed, we want to start with plugs.

I called Johnston Seed and they said that all varieties of Buffalo Grass are basically the same. Their seed is $13.50 per pound in 3 or 25 pound bags with 1 to 2 pounds per 1,000 square feet recommended.

The growth rate requires patience. Here's the Johnson Seed growth rate pictures
        
                      18 Days after Germination                                                     28 Days after Germination
      
                    34 Days after Germination                                                  65 Days after Germination

Why start with plugs? Because advisers who are wiser say that the seed is tricky and we have enough tricky projects right now. So the search for plugs began with a websearch. Conveniently, I found an OSU turf page with the names and contact information for several turf resources.

The local turf companies I called said we couldn't handle the rolls of sod by ourselves and that Buffalo Grass plugs are not available. But, of course, everything is available.

I found plugs at two well-known online suppliers. One, High Country Gardens, sells a tray of 70 plugs for $66 with shipping and the other sells a tray of 72 plugs for $86 with shipping. High Country got the order.

Should I also buy seed and try my luck with starting my own plugs? Do I have time? energy? Seed is $50 for 3 pounds, plus shipping or a 3-hour drive to Enid.

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