Sir Walter, a soft-leaf, crisp, green, buffalo grass was developed in Australia and has been available since 1998. It has excellent drought tolerance compared to other buffalo grasses.
Better Homes and Gardens TV has laid Sir Walter buffalo in garden makeovers. Neale Tweedie, from Atlas Turf in Windsor, NSW, who supplied the turf, says Sir Walter deserves its popularity - it's ideal for kids (who are prone to the itches after playing on ordinary buffalo), it's hardy and semi-shade tolerant.
Sir Walter facts:
- It's winter active.
- Maintains its colour longer than other buffalo varieties and does not go purple in winter.
- Rolls out easily and is strong.
- Has softer leaves so is an ideal surface for children to play on.
- Is drought tolerant because of its natural dense layer.
- Requires little spraying for weeds due to the density.
- Does not invade garden beds like kikuyu or couch.
- Requires less mowing than kikuyu (approximately 50 per cent in summer).
- Is suitable for climates throughout Australia.
For best results Sir Walter should be well fertilised in autumn to ensure a healthy lawn throughout winter. Sir Walter can be laid throughout the year, but extra care should be made in extremely hot and windy weather.
Sir Walter can be used in areas as cold as Goulburn in NSW, as well as Victoria.
Around $6 per square metre, plus delivery.
Atlas Turf, phone (02) 4577 3900. Outside Sydney, phone (02) 9221 4080.
Common buffalo grass
Buffalo (Stenotaphrum secundatum)
Buffalo is know in the USA as St Augustine grass. In Australia, buffalo grass was named after the ship Buffalo, which carried the first shipment here last century. It is originally from the West Indies.
As the market demand for soft-leaf buffalo has grown, so also has the number of varieties. Some are genuine soft-leaf buffaloes, others might just be doing a name change. Always look for patented varieties or ones covered by PBR (Plant Breeders Rights). The genuine article will display a Patent or PBR number on the invoice.
The PBR number of Sir Walter is 96/226.