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We converted our back lawn to Legacy Buffalo grass 2 years ago and love the results. I just finished ordering more plug trays from Todd Valley to complete the rest of our lawn. We received excellent service. We did have initial problems getting the plugs established 2 years ago because we didn't water enough during a hot New Mexico summer. Todd Valley not only replaced the plugs at no charge, they worked with us to make sure we were doing everything correctly on the second go round. There's nothing like people from Nebraska for honest service.
Ordered plugs of UC Verde Buffalo Grass for my lawn (~10 miles inland San Diego). Placed the order on Friday night, requested shipment on Monday AM and was pleasantly surprised when they did indeed ship on Monday. Arrived on Friday afternoon, a bit longer than expected, but looked none the worse for wear despite a bit of a freak mini-heat wave of 90+ degree temps 2 days that week. They have not yet been planted, but look quite robust. Only downside is that the shipping costs seem to be a bit of a racket... for 7 trays of plugs, I paid $81.19 in shipping. Thought that either the boxes would be exceptionally heavy or were being shipped express, but nope, the 3 boxes were actually quite light and took 5 days to arrive so were obviously shipped via UPS Ground. Had I known that before ordering, the $81 would have stung a lot more and I may have looked elsewhere.
This is a 100% experimental lawn for me: I know of two installations of Buffalo Grass in Phoenix, two varieties planted as sod. If it works or not, I'm going to publicize the heck out of it.
I ordered 7 flats of UC Verde plugs on March 15th, requesting shipment on the 16th. It was shipped late on the 16th, arrived in Phoenix on the 20th by UPS ground. The boxes had obviously been dropped and plugs and dirt were all over the place. I know how UPS flings things as they sort - maybe a plastic air-pillow would have helped prevent the mass de-planting.
Out of 7 flats of plugs, two plugs were definitely dead, crisp and brown. A couple dozen were in critical condition but we planted anything with a hint of green in the crown or a live-looking root anyway, using the ZEBA root dip. Watering is twice a day, early AM and 2PM, for very short periods just to keep the top of the dirt damp and encourage runners to root.
Three weeks later, none of the planted plugs has died. They are showing new growth and some have runners 6-9 inches long.
I ordered for our yard in Thornton, CO, about 1800 Prestige plugs that arrived the first weekend in May of 2008. They arrived in good condition. I planted them.
There was a cold spell that weekend, and temperatures dropped into the 20's. This was too cold for the plugs, as they went dormant for several weeks.
Once the heat kicked in, the grass really took off. I did not use a pre-emergent, and battling weeds was a challenge. An application of 2-4-D when the temperature was around 80 deg F resulted in the killing of the plugs. An application of Drive 75F when temperatures were warm severely stunted and 'modified' the plugs. I had the common sense to only apply these herbicides to part of the planted area.
Looking back, here is what I learned.
May 1st in Denver is too early to plant these. The plugs are coming from a greenhouse. Waiting until temperatures were warmer, maybe a few more weeks, would have given a better window to kill weeds with warmth needing glyphosate prior to planting. It also would have reduced the chance of cold induced dormancy.
No matter what the labels say, be really careful with herbicides--even with ones where the label says that it is rated for buffalo grass. Although temperatures were under the directed threshold when applied, the grass was injured significantly with both 2-4-D and Drive 75F.
Understanding the biology of the plugs:
The grass arrives as root-bound plugs. These root balls are mostly dead. New root growth will come from closer to the crown (the part where the roots and the blades meet). I learned this by digging up a section of turf that came from a plug 5 months after planting. The original root ball had no new growth. New roots had come from crowns from stolons.
Stolons send out crowns that touch the soil. If these crowns are wet and warm long enough, they will aggressively send multiple roots quickly into the soil. If dry, they will not root. I watered more than recommended to speed the development of stolons and roots. Also, I watered so as to maximize surface wetness throughout the day, rather than deep down watering, as I was intending to stimulate surface roots.
Great things about Prestige Plugs:
In September, we needed to dig up some turf to plant trees. The root system was very impressive. The buffalo grass roots had penetrated 24" down into clay and loam soil.
The plugs stayed pretty green until middle of October. Then they turned a bit purple, and then gradually the amber of dormancy was established by Halloween. Interestingly, my neighbours' Kentucky Bluegrass went brown at the same time due to dryness as we all had blown out our sprinklers and stopped irrigating.
I plan on using glyphosate in the spring--after weeds have emerged but before the buffalo grass has greened--as well as some type of pre-emergent.
I have put a lot of work into it, but I believe the reduction in watering and mowing will be worth it starting this next growing season.
Very, Very disappointed with Todd Valley Farms and their Legacy Buffalograss, it will definitly leave a legacy with me. I will never ever buy any of there products. They shipped the sod in an uncovered semi truck that went down the interstate for 5 hours, by the time the sod made it here it was so dried out that the legacy turf feel apart as soon as you went to lay the stuff. Horrible stuff, it took 20 hours to lay 10 rolls of sod, and we lost easily 3 rolls of sod, just from all the sod that fell apart. Plus looking at their sod that has been laid in our area the past couple of years, it looks like crap, it has all died, and the just about the only thing still living is all the weeds that Todd Valley gives you, but I looked on the invoice and those come free. From here on I will try my luck with seeds or go to Fort Collins and get my sod. Thanks for nothing!Company representative comment on June 27, 2008: On Jun 27, 2008 3:58 PM, Todd Valley Farms added:
I am sorry to hear of your problems with Legacy sod. You need to know buffalograss is not like other grasses. It does not have rhizomes to hold together as a solid sod. It is held together by the above ground stolens. This makes the sod pieces difficult to handle, especially early in the season. . Bufflograss also goes through a stress period after installation so it will turn brown for several weeks after installation before greening back up. We discourage homeowners from laying their own buffalograss sod. It needs to be machine installed. We reccommend the use of our accelerated growth plugs instead. They are more economical, easy to plant and do not go through a stress period. Planted 12 to 18 inchess apart they will usually give complete coverage in 3 - 4 growing months. In Nebrasaka they can be planted starting May 1 and also require less water to establish. When converting a lawn to buffalograss there is no need to remove the old grass. Just spray with Roundup, mow short and plant. This saves a lot of work and is the best way. The old grass acts as erosion control, mulch and a weed barrier. They are delivered directly to your door via UPS. See: http://toddvalleyfarms.com/PlugInstallation.htm
We have tried to convivce the NRD to use plugs in their program but they say the grant requires them to use sod.
teresamac Bronx, NY (Zone 6b) (1 review) July 16, 2007
I ordered six trays of Zoysia plugs (72 plugs each) from Todd Valley Farms on Thursday, specifiying the following Monday as a shipping date. I was worried that it was too last minute to go out, but shouldn't have. It shipped Tuesday, and arrived on Friday evening in fantastic condition. Moist and healthy, and very well boxed. All the plugs were in great shape, and if these babies die, it will be no-one's fault but my own! I highly recommend this company.
I placed an order for Prestige buffalo last week and it arrived today. Our order was for 30 flats of plugs, 90 plugs in each flat. From Nebraska to Houston in the middle of the summer...it is flawless...truly beyond my expectations. The service could not have been better. The web-site is easy to use and explains about the benefits of buffalo grass. I spoke with the management several times before I ordered. I am using the grass for a home developer, who wants low maintenance, native landscaping.