Palmetto Buffalo Grass in Melbourne

Palmetto Buffalo Grass is a tough, soft leaf Buffalo turf variety that is available Australia wide and is the #1 selling brand of Buffalo grass in the world. With combined sales in the U.S., Australia and South Africa, no other proprietary brand of Buffalo grass comes close to the quantity sold.

This turf provides an instant lawn in Melbourne that has excellent winter colour, and can generally out compete weeds when established. Palmetto Buffalo Grass generally requires less watering and less mowing than most other turf varieties available in Instant turf rolls or slabs, and in Viro-Cell Lawn for patch up.

Stenotaphrum secundatum ‘SS100′ is the genus, species and cultivar name of this turf. Thus ‘SS100′ is the cultivar or variety name of the turf. Palmetto is the trade name, or brand name.

Installation and Maintenance Advice

Read our guide to learn more about how we prepare and plan your instant turf installation in Melbourne. It takes specialist equipment and high-quality fertiliser to keep a lawn looking as fresh as the day it was laid.

Water thoroughly for 7-10 days after installation and take care that the water is saturating the soil beneath the turf. 2-3 weeks after laying, you may mow lightly to tidy up the lawn.

Speak to Austral Turf for More Information

Our team can help you choose the right lawn for your needs. Make an enquiry with Austral Turf today to receive a no-obligation, free quote. If you have any further questions, call us on 0433 037 360.

Palmetto Turf Performance in Melbourne

People want a lawn that they can simply mow, water much less, fertilise once or twice a year, and above all look great almost all the time. Palmetto Buffalo Turf provides a great looking lawn with minimal fuss. It can be used in residential or commercial properties, and it’s perfect for large landscaping projects.

Outstanding Winter Colour

Palmetto Buffalo grass (middle) has outstanding winter colour. Side by side comparisons on many of our growers farms over the last few years have shown that when it gets cold in winter, most other Buffalos don’t stay as green as Palmetto. Palmetto, on average, has 75.5% better winter colour than other buffalo grass types in research.

Great Shade Tolerance

Palmetto Buffalo grass performs well in full sun, yet thrives in shaded areas where other grasses fail. A Palmetto Buffalo lawn requires 2 to 4 hours of direct sunlight. No grass can survive in extreme shade, but Palmetto is better than others. Palmetto has the best winter active growth, so it is less likely to drop out in shaded areas in winter.

Less Mowing

Unlike some other rapidly upward growing Buffalos, Palmetto Buffalo Grass needs less mowing. Although Palmetto Buffalo Grass grows across the ground at a fast rate, its upward leaf growth is less than most other Buffalo grass varieties. Ask for a Buffalo grass like Palmetto, one that grows fast across the ground for better wear tolerance, but one that grows more slowly upwards for less mowing. In fact, we believe Palmetto is the only Buffalo grass on the Australian market that does this.

Great At Outcompeting Weeds

Once Palmetto Buffalo grass is well established, its dense growth makes it much harder for weeds to establish. As Palmetto actively grows in most areas in winter, it is less likely to allow weeds to invade. This is the time when many other forms of Buffalo grass develop weed problems. Of course, occasionally weeds can develop in a Palmetto buffalo lawn, and if in the unlikely event this occurs, please follow our maintenance guide. We are always on hand to provide ongoing advice and maintenance.

Drought Resistant

Palmetto has a massive deep root system, making it more drought resistant. Palmetto Buffalo Grass is the efficient water user and it stays greener for longer in dry conditions, making it the most likely lawn of all to stay green all year round. Palmetto Buffalo Turf is a winter green and summer green grass.

Low Allergenic

Palmetto Buffalo turf is great news for people with allergies. Seed heads on grass can cause allergies, so it is good to know that Palmetto has less seed head. In a full year trial at Richmond, Palmetto had an average of 40% less seed head than other popular Buffalo varieties.

Tough and Hard Wearing

Palmetto Buffalo grass has excellent fast growth across the ground. Its runners are fast and highly branching, which provides excellent recovery from wear. Palmetto Buffalo Grass is quickly becoming known as the tough, hardwearing Buffalo lawn that is most suitable for Melbourne lawns

Disease and Pest Tolerance

Palmetto Buffalo grass has good tolerance to gray leaf spot and other diseases and is more resistant to pests such as lawn grub. As with any natural product, problems can occasionally occur. If they do occur, please consult our maintenance guide, or seek expert advice from our team.

Less Thatch

Palmetto Buffalo Grass is known for its ability to create a dense sward without major thatch problems. Just walk on a mature Palmetto buffalo lawn and notice the difference compared to a common soft leaf Buffalo lawn. The common soft leaf Buffalo lawn will be very spongy, whilst in comparison, the Palmetto will be far less thatching. Palmetto Buffalo Grass rarely scalps when being mown, allowing people to almost always have a green lawn.

Finer Leaf

Palmetto Buffalo grass has a very soft leaf, and unlike older traditional scratchy Buffalo lawns, is not likely to irritate tender young kids. Palmetto doesn’t have any scratchy barbs down the leaf, which is why it is so soft. The Common Buffalo, on the other hand, does have barbs, which is why it doesn’t feel soft. With Buffalo Turf you will not be subject to irritated skin or rashes even after prolonged use making it the preferred turf for homes and parks.

Finer Leaf

Palmetto Buffalo grass has a very soft leaf, and unlike older traditional scratchy Buffalo lawns, is not likely to irritate tender young kids.

Above are microscopic photos of Palmetto (left) and common Buffalo (right) taken by Peter Kichington.

Palmetto doesn’t have any scratchy barbs down the leaf, which is why it is so soft. The Common Buffalo, on the other hand, does have barbs, which is why it doesn’t feel soft.


Palmetto Buffalo Turf Research – A summary of key findings of popular turf varieties.

  • The best winter colour for a low maintenance turf in the trial was Palmetto Buffalo Grass. It had a 25% better late winter colour than Sir Walter, and a 126% better winter colour than Shade Master Buffalo grass.
  • Based on sensible maintenance and analyzing the minimum mowing frequency, this investigation shows that Palmetto Buffalo Grass required 14.3% less mowing than Sir Walter. Shademaster required 7% less mowing than Sir Walter and Palmetto required 7.7% less mowing than Shademaster.
  • Palmetto Buffalo Grass had considerably less thatch than Sir Walter. Shademaster had by far the most thatch (sponginess) of all three Buffalo grasses in the trial.
  • Sir Walter produced noticeably far more seed head than either the Palmetto Buffalo Grass or the Shademaster.

Installation Tips

Installing Palmetto Soft Leaf Buffalo Turf

The last thing you’d want to do is have to tear up your new lawn and start again so here are 9 steps to help you lay your new Palmetto Buffalo Lawn properly the first time…

  1. Remove all building waste & weeds
  2. Spread a free draining soil to a depth of 7-15cm (roots can penetrate much deeper) or loosen ground and mix in appropriate soil conditioners. Phone your supplier for more advice on this option. For sandy soils, simply mix in organic material and rotary hoe.
  3. Level the surface using a screeding board, lawn leveller or similar device.
  4. Apply a low analysis fertilizer with an N:P:K of approximately 5:6:5 or lawn starter fertilizer to the surface and incorporate with a rake.
  5. In hot months, moisten the soil but do not make the soil too wet. Do not lay turf on hot, dry soil.
  6. Lay the Palmetto Buffalo Grass as soon as possible after delivery.
  7. On hot days, lay a section of buffalo grass and lightly water. Repeat until all buffalo grass is laid. On cool days, turf can be laid all at once. Roll and water thoroughly within one hour of laying turf.
  8. Water thoroughly for 7-10 days or until turf is established take care that the water is saturating the soil beneath the turf. In colder months, the turf will take longer to establish. The turf should not dry out until roots are established.
  9. When the soil has firmed and the Palmetto Buffalo Grass has rooted down, usually 2-3 weeks after laying (longer during winter), mow lightly to tidy up the lawn.


Questions about Sapphire Buffalo Grass Answered

Q: Which turf variety should I use?
A: Selection of the suitable turf variety for your situation is a somewhat subjective process. First, you must consider varieties that perform best in your local climate and soil type…there’s no sense trying to make a turf variety work in an environment that it wasn’t designed for. Secondly, you should look for varieties that combine the overall qualities that are most important to you: aesthetics, maintenance requirements, environmental aspects, etc.
Q: Should I seed or turf my yard?
A: There is a common misconception that seeding is the best way to establish a lawn because it is much less expensive than turfing. In reality, turfing the area turns out to be less expensive over time once costs such as increased maintenance inputs and repair are accounted for. Add to that the instantaneous and finished look you achieve with turf and it’s clear to see that turfing the area is preferable in most instances. Here are other points to consider when deciding whether to seed or turf:

    1. A professional turf lawn needs no special care because it is a healthy mature lawn when installed, whereas a sprigged or seeded lawn requires years of nurturing to reach maturity. Turf is grown under expert supervision from either top quality seed blends or certified hybrid sprigs. After it has been installed, just water, mow and fertilize your turf lawn as needed and it will remain a healthy, green carpet of grass, requiring very little maintenance.
    2. Turf can be installed practically anywhere, even where seeding is impossible or too costly. Turf is often used to stop soil erosion and water pollution on slopes where rain would wash away both seed and soil.
    3. Turf establishes itself quickly. In a couple of weeks, it is ready for full use. It creates the perfect surface for lawn games and family outdoor living. With todays various blends of hardy grasses, turf is chosen for parks, golf courses, athletic fields, as well as residential homes and business parks.

Turf has revolutionized the lawn business! Now you can install a turf lawn anytime during the year when the ground can be tilled. There is no need to wait for the “right” season to establish your lawn.

    • Turf is the only way to go from bare soil to lush, green lawn in just hours. Yet, it is relatively inexpensive to use. In the few hours it takes to install your turf lawn, your property value increases significantly and even more in aesthetic value.
    • With todays ecological concerns, many more people are considering turf for its environmental benefits. Turf cools and cleans the atmosphere by reflecting the sun’s heat and absorbing noises, carbon dioxide and other harmful pollutants. It releases valuable oxygen and moisture into the air we breathe. As it grows, turf silently contributes to a healthier environment.
    • Today we expect convenience, efficiency and quality in our products. Buildings are going up almost overnight and attractive landscaping is installed in hours. Why wait one or two years for a new lawn to struggle to maturity when you can have a beautiful turf lawn complimenting your buildings right now. That high quality turf lawn can be conveniently installed in hours, at a surprisingly low cost.
Q: Can I buy your turf varieties in seeded form?
A: Since all of our current turf varieties are vegetatively reproduced, they are not sold in the form of seed. There are other turf varieties that are sold as seed, but to date, no warm season buffalo has shown adequate performance.
Q: Are your turf varieties sold in Viro-Cell lawn?
A: Yes. You can purchase all of our turf varieties in Viro-Cell Lawn. Please call us for more information on Viro-Cell Lawn.
Q: What is Viro-Cell Lawn?
A: Viro-Cell Lawns are plastic trays that hold 108 seedlings (25mm x 25mm x 62mm) of pre-rooted turf seedlings. These seedlings, or Viro-Cells, are primarily installed into lawns for repair and renovation work but can also be used to start a new lawn. Viro-Cell Lawn has many benefits and may be just what you need to accomplish your goals. For more information on Viro-cell lawn please give us a call.
Q: How does Austral Turf control the quality of their turf?
A: Austral Turf has developed a quality control program designed to ensure that only high quality, genetically pure, competitively priced Ozbreed turf varieties are grown. Highlights of this program include a rigorous licensing process that identifies only quality and service-oriented growers, multiple suppliers to most geographic regions ensuring adequate supply at competitive prices, genetically pure planting stock material (identifiable by DNA banding and physical characteristics) that originates from approved sources, quality control stamped invoices, and on-site inspection of licensed growers farms by Ozbreed. This program, along with our participation in several regional certification agency programs, should give consumers an added sense of assurance that the turf variety they are purchasing from a licensed Ozbreed grower is of the highest quality.
Q: Will Palmetto work in any shaded area?
A: Palmetto is a shade tolerant cultivar, but the following information must be taken into consideration. Turf in general declines in quality as the degree of light decreases in a given area. Every shade situation is unique unto itself. There is no “cookie cutter” formula to determine if a shaded area will or will not support grass. Details such as degree of shade, elevation of tree branches, type of tree, root invasion, soil type, and maintenance practices are only a few of the variables that must be considered in determining whether or not to attempt to install turf in a shaded area. Detailed shade studies are few and far between, but some promising new studies are now underway.

We believe the best approach is to test a small shaded area using Viro-cell lawn or small amounts of turf before heavily investing into a large area. Palmetto is one of the most shade tolerant grasses in the buffalo family but must have 2-4 hours of sunlight or high filtered light to survive. The best scenario is to have Palmetto installed into a newly landscaped lawn, which permits a gradual adaptation to the shaded environment. Installing Palmetto or any other turf in heavy shade during the hot, humid summer months is recommended only for professionals that understand special measures and techniques used for satisfactory results. It is best to turf shaded areas during cooler months when the stress caused by heat and humidity is minimized. If Palmetto will not survive in your shaded area, consider using some alternative ground cover.

Q: How do I successfully install / grow Palmetto in shade?
A: Prior to installation, prepare the soil appropriately (see installation tips). The grass must be freshly cut, delivered promptly, and placed within 36 hours of cutting. During the hotter summer months, installation should occur within 24 hours or less when possible. Palmetto is a dense cultivar of Soft leaf buffalo that must be given special attention during hot weather. The temperatures on the pallet can easily reach 130 degrees which will “cook the grass” if not cooled or placed immediately. Slight yellowing is normal when placing turf during summer conditions, but deep yellowing or browning indicates older grass which may not recover from transplanting. Cutting, shipping, and placing turf must be more carefully coordinated during the hotter months of summer.

Initial establishment is the most critical stage. The turf has been produced in full sun, had its roots cut off, and is being placed in an different environment! Water the turf for 1 hour upon installation. After that, water one to three times a week, depending on the amount of shade, type of soil, drainage, etc. Shaded areas require less moisture than sunny locations. DO NOT KEEP THE GRASS SATURATED WITH WATER! It is better to allow the turf to wilt slightly than to overwater.

The grass should put down new roots within a week to fourteen days. If no new roots are showing and/or if you are seeing brown spots in your lawn, apply a fungicide and call your supplier or lawn care expert immediately. A fungicide containing the base chemical Daconil 2787 may be applied topically to aid in reducing leaf spot during the re-establishment period. For more serious problems, systemic fungicides such as Banner (Immunox), Cleary’s 3336 (Thiophate), or Bayleton (Fung-away) may be used. Time is of the essence!

Q: How do I water my shaded lawn?
A: Once turf is established, shaded areas continue to require less water than full sun areas. Again, a fungicide may be needed during hot rainy periods when the grass blades remain moist for prolonged periods to reduce grey leaf spot and brown patch. For an established shaded lawn, a good rule of thumb for watering is to allow the grass to wilt slightly, apply up to, but no more than 2.5cm of water; only water again when there is more wilt. There are occasions when spot watering will be necessary.
Q: When is the best time to plant Palmetto?
A: Generally, Palmetto Soft Leaf Buffalo does very well when planted in spring or autumn. During these times, the stresses on turf from heat, humidity, cold, etc., are low and the plant has the best chance of recovering quickly from the shock of transplantation. It is important to note that although spring and autumn are the best times, Palmetto is planted throughout the year with great success.

One note of warning: if you wish to plant Palmetto in the hottest summer months (January-February) and you live in a very hot – humid area, please consider a precautionary fungicide application immediately after the turf is installed. This step is preventative in nature but is recommended, especially if you are installing your Palmetto into a shaded setting, due to the combination of stresses and the amount of water applied to the grass to assist in re-establishment. These conditions are very conducive to disease formation and should be addressed prior to any problems arising. This step is recommended for the installation of all turf varieties subject to these stresses, not just Palmetto.

Q: Is Palmetto salt tolerant?
A: Palmetto can be used effectively in situations that present limited salt exposure. Palmetto performs very well in waterfront applications that receive overwash and spray from salt waters such as homes on barrier islands, beach fronts, and bay fronts. Caution should be used, however, when installing Palmetto in areas irrigated with salt contaminated water. Palmetto should never be used in applications where the primary irrigation source is high in salt content (such as sea water).