Water is essential to all life. Too little water and we die, too much and we drown. The same is true for the buffalo grass. Water makes up 70% to 80% of the weight of our lawn grasses and the clippings alone are nearly 90% water. While most people are concerned about not watering their lawns enough, the fact is that more lawns are damaged or destroyed by over-watering.
Newly installed turf has very important watering needs. Proper watering immediately after installation will ensure the turf becomes established, and it will also have an impact on how well the lawn continues to flourish for years to come.
Begin watering new Buffalo grass within a half hour after it is laid on the soil. Apply at least 2 to 3 cm (1 inch) of water so that the soil beneath the turf is very wet. Ideally the soil should be moist 7 to 10 cm (3 to 4 inches) below the surface.
Watering Tip #1: Pull back a corner of the turf and push a screwdriver or other sharp tool into the soil. It should push in easily and have moisture along the first 7 to 10 cm (3 or 4 inches) or you need to apply more water.
Watering Tip #2: Make absolutely certain that water is getting to all areas of your new buffalo lawn, regardless of the type of sprinkling system you use. Corners and edges are easily missed by many sprinklers (if windy) and are particularly vulnerable to drying out faster than the centre portion of your buffalo lawn. Also, areas near buildings dry out faster because of reflected heat and may require more water.
Watering Tip #3: Runoff may occur on some soils and sloped areas before the soil is adequately moist. To conserve water and ensure adequate soak in, turn off the water when runoff begins, wait 30 minutes to an hour and restart the watering on the same area.Repeating this start and stop process until correct soil moisture is achieved.
For the next two weeks keep the below-turf soil surface moist with daily (or more frequent) watering. Especially hot, dry or windy periods will necessitate increased watering amounts and frequency.
Watering Tip #4: As the buffalo grass starts to establish its new roots into the soil, it will be difficult, impossible and/or harmful to pull back a corner to check beneath the turf (Watering Tip #1), but you can still use a sharp tool to check moisture depth by pushing it through the turf and into the soil.
Watering Tip #5: Water as early in the morning as possible to take advantage of the daily start of the grass's normal growing cycle, usually lower wind speeds and considerably less of water loss because of high temperature evaporation.
Watering Tip #6: If the temperature approaches 37°C (100 F), or high winds are constant for more than half of the day, reduce the temperature of the turf surface by lightly sprinkling the area. This sprinkling does not replace the need for longer, deeper watering, which will become even more critical during adverse weather conditions.
During the rest of the growing season most lawns will grow very well with a maximum total of 2.5cm of water a week, coming either from rain or applied water. This amount of water, properly applied, is all that is required for the health of the grass, providing it is applied evenly and saturates the underlying soil to a depth of 10 to 15 cm (4 to 6 inches).
Watering Tip #7: Infrequent and deep watering is preferred to frequent and shallow watering because the roots will only grow as deeply as its most frequently available water supply. Deeply rooted buffalo grass has a larger "soil-water bank" to draw moisture from and this will help the grass survive drought and hot weather that rapidly dries out the upper soil layer