Agronomy and Horticulture Department


Date of this Version

February 2005


Published in Crop Sci. 45:704–711 (2005). © Crop Science Society of America. Used by permission.


Buffalo grass [Buchloe dactyloides (Nutt.) Engelm.] use as a turf in the northern USA is limited to a certain extent by its extended winter dormancy. A mixture of buffalo grass with cool-season turf- grasses might extend the turf’s green appearance and enhance quality. Research was conducted to determine the effects of over-seeding fine-leaved fescue (Festuca spp.) in buffalo grass turf on turf grass color and quality and the effects of species, seeding rate and date, and core cultivation on fine-leaved fescue establishment in buffalo grass turf. Hard fescue (F. longifolia Thuill.), blue fescue (F. ovina L. var. glauca Lam.), and Chewings fescue (F. rubra L. ssp. commutata Gaud.); seeding rates (10, 20, and 30 g m-2); seeding dates (fall, spring, or split fall–spring); and core cultivation (single or double pass) were evaluated for species composition, turf grass quality, color, and green cover at the John Seaton Anderson Turf grass Research Facility located near Mead, NE. Buffalo grass turf overseeded with blue fescue in fall had the highest turfgrass quality, color, and green cover ratings. Fall overseeding resulted in the highest shoot density values. Spring overseedings were below acceptable levels. Botanical composition of the mixtures overseeded in fall reached 75 to 80% fescue and 20 to 25% buffalo grass after 2 yr. Seeding rate effect was linear with each increment between 10 g m-2 and 30 g m-2 increasing fine-leaved fescue shoot density, turf grass quality, color, and green cover. Blue fescue–buffalo grass mixtures over-seeded in the fall exhibited 80% green cover when buffalo grass was dormant. Turf grass green cover in the mixture was extended by 2 months when compared to buffalo grass monostands growing in areas adjacent to the study. The results of this study support the use of fine-leaved fescue and buffalo grass mixtures to extend turf grass green appearance and enhance quality.