The thatch layer in Buffalo grass is quite unique amongst the different grass types, Buffalo has the trait of continually increasing the thickness of it's thatch without restriction. This often leads many older Buffalo lawns to have a thatch layer which raises itself much higher than surrounding paths, often becoming up to 20 or 30 centimetres thick.
Controlling thatch in Buffalo grass requires ongoing regular lawn maintenance which is really no different than for other grasses, but their practice becomes more important for the long term lawn care of Buffalo.
The best way to control thatch in Buffalo is to reduce the speed at which it develops, these things can be done with a couple of lawn care practices which should be followed as a matter or course for owning a Buffalo lawn.
Regular lawn mowing is the first step, once a lawn is mowed - the grass will detect the damage to it's leaf area and then direct it's available energy toward growing more green leaf, instead of growing more stolons (runners which make up the thatch). Mowing regularly will lead to a greener lawn with less thatch.
The next step in controlling thatch is to mow at a low level at least once a year. This should be done only in growing season, and never on hot days. Mowing nice and low occasionally will remove small amounts of thatch as it develops, aiding in the ongoing control of thatch in Buffalo. Nothing drastic needs to be done, just reduce the mowing height occasionally so the blades "bite" into the grass a little more.
Just be aware that many professional lawn de-thatching contractors may not offer services to de-thatch buffalo grass lawns. This is because Buffalo does not have underground runners (rhizomes) to repair itself from after vertimowing… whereas grass types like Couch, Zoysia and Kikuyu do.
Once Buffalo lawns develop signs of increased thatch which seems to be getting worse and out of control, then it's time to remove it. De-thatching Buffalo is very similar to de-thatching other lawn types, where most of the lawns surface is removed and the lawn regenerates from a minimum of runners which are left in place. Contact a Professional Vertimowing Contractor to have the work completed.
If faced with the problem of a Buffalo lawn which is already 20 cm thick (or more), then there really are almost no options for it's control. In most cases, these lawns will often need to be removed with a bobcat, and then replanted from anew. If in doubt, contact a professional Vertimowing Contractor to assess your lawn to determine if it is suitable for Vertimowing.
Buffalo is best suited to being grown in partial shade and not in full sun. When grown in partial shade - Buffalo will develop far less thatch and at a far slower growth rate. Whereas if we grow Buffalo in full sun - the thatch levels for this lawn type will grow far quicker, and will develop to a much greater thickness.
When choosing a new lawn for full sun conditions. a lawn type such as Zoysia, Couch, Queensland Blue or Kikuyu would be far better options to consider.