Sapphire Soft Leaf Turf in Melbourne

Choosing the right types of lawn grass all comes down to your existing soil type and personal preference. Sapphire Soft Leaf Buffalo Grass has a superfine texture, so if you want a buffalo lawn without a coarse leaf, Sapphire is for you. It’s a candidate for the best turf for Melbourne lawns.

Sapphire retains excellent winter colour in Sydney, Melbourne, Perth, Brisbane and Adelaide (provided it is fertilised in April). It will go dormant in colder areas like Canberra, but it will hold its winter colour longer than most varieties.

Sapphire Soft Leaf Buffalo (Stenotaphrum secundatum ‘B12′ PBR) was bred from Sir Walter Turf. Buffalo Grass Stenotaphrum secundatum ‘B12′ is the genus, species and cultivar name of this buffalo grass. Thus B12 is the cultivar or variety name of the turf.

A Sapphire Soft Leaf Buffalo Lawn grows quickly across the ground, providing quick recovery from wear and a deep root system. A Sapphire lawn has a truly amazing deep-green colour that will make your home the envy of the street.

Sapphire Instant Turf Performance in Melbourne

Sapphire buffalo grass has all the benefits of the other high-performance soft leaf buffalo grasses, such as: needing less water, deep roots, greener in winter, a good sun or shade turf, and it’s hard wearing. However, Sapphire Buffalo grass has the added benefit of a finer texture.

When Sapphire Buffalo grass is mature, its leaf folds at tight angles along its axis, resulting in a fine texture. This is important, because fine leaf buffalo lawns usually have thatch problems, are shallow rooted and slow growing. A Sapphire Buffalo lawn does not suffer from these problems. It’s truly an easy grass to grow.

Specifications and Characteristics

Sapphire is drought-resistant and can outcompete weeds easily with fast recovery in sun and shade. It’s low allergenic due to having fewer seed heads and can perform next to salt-water pools.

Finer Leaf

Below: on the left side of the photo is a Sapphire Buffalo lawn, to the right is a clump of soft leaf buffalo grass. It is easy to see the difference in the texture. The Sapphire Buffalo lawn has a much finer appearance.We believe Sapphire is the only high performance soft leaf buffalo grass in the world. Not only does it look great, it wears well, is drought tolerant and will grow in part shade to full sun.
Above: This photo demonstrates the difference in the width of Sapphire’s blade compared to common soft leaf buffalo. Most other soft leaf buffalo grass varieties have a similar width leaf to the common form. If you want the finest soft leaf buffalo in the world, with high performance then a Sapphire Buffalo Lawn is the turf for you.

If you would like a lawn that is comfortable to lie on, then do yourself, family and friends a favour and purchase Sapphire Soft Leaf Buffalo Grass…. Its a fine choice!


Out Competes Weeds

Due to the tight mat and high performance of Sapphire Buffalo Grass it leaves very little room for weeds to grow. It is excellent at out competing weeds. In the unlikely event that broad leaf weeds ever become a problem, a Sapphire Buffalo Lawn can be sprayed with Bromoxynil and MCPA, as it is resistant to these chemicals. Follow directions on the spray pack. Remember never to use Dicamba on Buffalo grass.

Fast Recovery

Sapphire Buffalo Grass has rapid growth across the ground. This high performance allows it to cope well with high traffic situations. In extra high wear areas it is recommended that you fertilise and water more than normal.

Best Looking Buffalo Lawn

Due to its fine texture, and the nice way the leaf sits, a Sapphire Buffalo Lawn looks superb. When Sapphire Buffalo Grass is mature its leaf tends to fold back giving a much finer appearance.

Sun and Shade

Sapphire is the number one Buffalo in shade. This has been
based on averages gathered from the Horticultural Australia and Department of Primary Industries trial data.

Less Thatch

Sapphire Buffalo Grass is proving to be less spongy than other buffalo varieties.

Great Winter Colour

It takes quite a few frosts to send a Sapphire Buffalo Lawn off colour. The image at the left shows a Sapphire Buffalo Lawn with a heavy frost covering and the colour is still excellent.

Drought Tough Buffalo Grass

A Sapphire Buffalo Lawn has a very deep root system, which means it can hang on looking great with less frequent watering. In normal soils on the East Coast of Australia, a Sapphire Buffalo Lawn should only need watering in the warmer months, and in general once every few weeks should be enough, except in severe heat and drought conditions.

Less seed head, low allergetic

In data from the DPI and HAL research, from a site located at Richmond, NSW, Sapphire had on average far less seed head over a 12 month monitoring period compared to the average of other Buffalos. In fact, after summarising the research data we found Sapphire had a 39% lower seed head score compared to the averages of other Buffalos.

Salt Water

At average salt water pool levels, Sapphire was one of the best performing grasses in Department of Primary Industries Research.


Internode Length: 50.4mm average
Leaf width: 6.4mm average
Leaf colour: Colour green(RHS 137A)
Leaf length:20.2mm average

Installation & Care

How to Install Sapphire Buffalo Grass

  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 a soil 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 the buffalo grass on hot, dry soil.
  6. Lay the buffalo grass as soon as possible after delivery.
  7. On hot days, lay a section of the buffalo grass and lightly water. Repeat until all turf is laid. On cool days, the buffalo grass 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 the buffalo lawn is established take care that the water is saturating the soil beneath the turf. In colder months, the buffalo lawn will take longer to establish. The turf should not dry out until roots are established.
  9. When the soil has firmed and the Sapphire Buffalo Grass has rooted down, usually 2-3 weeks after laying (longer during winter), mow lightly to tidy up your new buffalo lawn.

Watering Tips – Watering your New Sapphire Buffalo Lawn

Newly installed buffalo grass has very important watering needs. Proper watering immediately after installation will ensure the buffalo lawn becomes established, and it will also have an impact on how well the buffalo 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 buffalo lawn is very wet. Ideally the soil 7 to 10 cm. (3 to 4 inches) below the surface should be moist.

Below are some watering tips for new buffalo lawns:

  1. Pull back a corner of the buffalo grass 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.
  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.
  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.
  4. As the turf 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, but you can still use a sharp tool to check moisture depth by pushing it through the buffalo grass and into the soil.
  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 water loss because of high temperature evaporation.
  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 buffalo lawn 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.
  7. Infrequent and deep watering is preferred to frequent and shallow watering because the buffalo grass roots will only grow as deeply as its most frequently available water supply. Deeply rooted 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.

Maintenance Tips

Mowing your Sapphire Buffalo Lawn

  1. Mow every 5-10 days in the hot months; mow every 3-6 weeks in the cold months.
  2. Mowing height will vary: 2-5cm in sunny/lightly shaded situations,5-7cm in heavier shaded situations.

Watering your Sapphire Buffalo Grass

  1. Water thoroughly and regularly after Sapphire Buffalo Grass has been laid to encourage a deep and vigorous root system (the buffalo grass will be able to fossick for water and therefore be more able to withstand hot dry conditions).
  2. Once the root system has fully established, water thoroughly only when needed-when a slight wilting is visible, usually once every 7-10 days in summer (on sandy soils more often), with much less or no water in cooler months.
  3. Remember that infrequent, deep watering promotes a healthy lawn.
  4. Over watering encourages excessive growth, disease and root rot.
  5. It is best to water in the early morning; night watering is not recommended.

Fertilising your Sapphire Buffalo Grass

  1. Buffalo grass needs to be fed to remain strong and healthy.
  2. Use a complete fertiliser in early April and early September.
  3. At other times of the year use a slow release fertiliser. If you need a quick green up, use a fertilizer high in nitrogen to promote a lush green lawn- e.g. Supergreen or organic based slow release fertilisers. In heat of summer avoid over fertilising or using manure based products.

Pests, Weeds and Diseases

Sapphire Buffalo Grass is resistant to pests, weeds and fungi compared to most other turf varieties, but as with any natural product, occasional problems can occur. If these problems occur we recommend the following:

  1. Pests – watch for the lawn grub (e.g. web worm or army worm) and african black beetle- apply suitable pesticides according to directions.
  2. Weeds – if weeds infest, hand eradicate before seed head develops or apply a suitable weedicide (ask your local garden centre.)NB: sprays containing DICAMBA must not be applied to soft leaf buffalo grass…!!!


Questions about Sapphire Buffalo Grass Answered

Q: What turf variety should I use?
A:Selection of the most suitable turf variety for your situation is a somewhat subjective process. Firstly, you must consider varieties that perform best in your local soil and climate. There is no sense trying to grow a turf variety in an environment it was not designed for. Secondly, you should look for a variety that combines the overall qualities that are most important to you: aesthetics, maintenance, environmental aspects etc.

Sapphire Buffalo Grass will perform in sun and shade, is drought tolerant and will grow in a wide range of soil types. Sapphire Buffalo Grass is an excellent choice due to its high performance and superior fine texture.

Q: Can I buy Sapphire Buffalo Grass in seeded form?
A: All of our turf varieties are vegetatively produced, they are not sold in the seed form. There are other turf varieties that are sold as seed, but to date, no warm season Buffalo grass has shown adequate performance.
Q: Are your turf varieties sold in Viro-Cell?
A: You can purchase Sapphire Buffalo Grass in Viro-Cell® lawn. For more information please call us.
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:Exactly what is a Viro-Cell lawn and how do I use it?
A: Viro-Cell lawn are plastic trays that hold 49 seedlings 25mm X 25mm X 62mm deep of pre rooted turf. These seedlings or Viro-Cells®, are primarily installed in lawns for repair and renovation work but can also be used to start a new buffalo lawn. Viro-Cell buffalo lawn has many benefits and may be just what you need to accomplish your goals.
Q: How should I water my Sapphire Buffalo Lawn in a shaded area?
A: Once your Sapphire Buffalo Lawn is established, shaded areas continue to require less water than full shade areas. 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 buffalo 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: Will Sapphire Buffalo Grass grow in my region of Australia?
A: Sapphire Buffalo Grass will thrive in most populated areas of Australia.
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 turf. In reality, turfing the area turns out to be less expensive over time once costs such as increased maintenance inputs and repairs are accounted for. Add to that the instantaneous and finished look you achieve with turf and its clear to see that turfing the area is preferable in most instances.
Q: Here are other points to consider when deciding 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. Instant turf has been specially grown to reach maturity prior to laying. After it has been installed, just water, mow and fertilise 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 when 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. – Turf establishes itself quickly. In 6 weeks, it is ready for full use. It creates the perfect surface for lawn games and outdoor living. With today’s various blends of hardy grasses, turf is chosen for parks, golf courses, athletic fields as well as residential homes and business parks.
  3. 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 that it takes you to install your lawn, your property value increases significantly and even more in aesthetic value. With today’s ecological concerns, many more people are considering turf for its environmental benefits. Turf cools and cleans the atmosphere by reflecting the suns heat and absorbing noise, 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.
  4. Today we expect convenience, efficiency and quality in our products. Buildings are going up almost over night 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 lawn installed in hours, at a surprisingly low cost.
Q: How does Austral Turf control the quality of their turf varieties?

Austral Turf has developed a quality program designed so that only high quality, genetically pure, competively priced turf varieties are grown. Highlights of this program include a rigorous licensing process that identifies quality and service orientated growers, suppliers to most geographic regions ensuring adequate supply at competitive prices, genetically pure plant stock material that originated from approved sources, quality control stamped invoices, and an onsite inspection of licensed grower’s 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 buffalo grass variety they are purchasing from a licensed grower is of the highest quality.

Q: Are there any other types of fine leaf high performance soft leaf buffalo grass?
A: Sapphire Buffalo grass is unique because it is the only high performance soft leaf buffalo grass with a fine leaf. There are other varieties of fine leaf Buffalo grass, however these varieties are not high performance. High performance with turf refers to the ability of the turf to recover from wear and damage that may be caused. A Sapphire Buffalo lawn will recover quickly and cover areas that may wear out. A Sapphire Buffalo lawn also has a deep and dense root system where most other fine leaf soft leaf buffalo grass varieties do not. This makes Sapphire Buffalo Grass drought tolerant.
Q: How do I successfully grow Sapphire Buffalo Grass in shaded areas?
A:Sapphire Buffalo Grass 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. Details such as the degree of shade, elevation of tree branches, type of soil and maintenance variables must also be considered in determining whether or not to install turf in a shaded area.

We believe the best way approach is to test a small shaded area using Viro-Cell lawn or small amounts of buffalo grass before heavily investing in a large area. Sapphire Buffalo Grass is shade tolerant but must have 2-4 hrs of sunlight to survive. The best scenario is to have Sapphire Buffalo Grass installed into an newly landscaped lawn, which permits a gradual adaptation to the shaded environment.

Installing Sapphire Buffalo Grass or any other type of 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 turf is minimized. If a Sapphire Buffalo lawn will not survive in your shaded area consider using some alternative ground cover.

Q: When is the best time to plant Sapphire Buffalo Grass, and what do I need to consider when planting?
A:The best time to plant Sapphire Buffalo Grass is in Spring or Autumn like other turf varieties. However if the turf is planted in Summer care must be taken due to dry and hot conditions. Prior to installation, prepare the soil appropriately (see installation tips). The buffalo 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. Sapphire Buffalo Grass is a dense cultivar of soft leaf buffalo grass 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 of the buffalo lawn is the most critical stage.

The turf has been produced in full sun, had its roots cut off, and is being placed in a 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 over water.

The buffalo 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 buffalo lawn, apply a fungicide and call your supplier or buffalo 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: Is Sapphire Buffalo Grass salt tolerant?
A: Good, similar to other Buffalo grass varieties.
Q: Where did Sapphire Buffalo Grass originate from?
A: Sapphire Buffalo Grass originated from Clarendon, NSW in 2001. For more information on the breeding of this turf variety please visit the following link