Buffalo vs Kikuyu: Which to Choose?

These two types of grass are among the most popular varieties grown in Australia.

Buffalo and Kikuyu are used in gardens and yards all over the country, as well as sports fields, public gardens and more.

Both are hardy and low maintenance – excellent qualities for home gardeners to use for their lawn or turf. But which one is best?

Here’s what you should consider before you choose:

What is Kikuyu Grass?

Kikuyu is a variety of grass that can withstand heavy traffic. Its durability makes it ideal for home lawns where children and pets will be playing outside every day.

Kikuyu is a fast-growing, aggressive type of grass that’s commonly used on sporting fields. It’s also popular with dog owners because it recovers quickly from the wear and tear of canine activity.

Eureka Kikuyu is the most popular variety among fans of the grass. It has broad, dark green leaves with a waxy sheen.

The roots of the Kikuyu grass go deep into the soil, which makes it able to tolerate drought conditions much better than other types of grass can.

It is a warm-season variety that spreads by both stolons (above-ground runners) and rhizomes (underground runners).

Kikuyu grass spreads rapidly, and if it isn’t managed properly, it can become invasive in your garden beds. Its root system is aggressive, allowing it to easily invade areas where it’s not wanted.

What is Buffalo Grass?

Buffalo grass is a prairie grass native to Canada, Mexico, and the United States (where it is known as St. Augustine). Its scientific name is Bouteloua dactyloides.

Buffalograss is a warm-season perennial shortgrass that can survive drought, heat, and cold.

It is a low-growing grass that traditionally was quite tough and scratchy. However, newer varieties, such as DNA Certified Sir Walter grass, are both soft and non-allergenic, making them popular for family homes.

In fact, DNA Certified Sir Walter Buffalo Grass, a “soft leaf buffalo grass”, is the most popular variety of buffalo grass in Australia.

Other varieties of buffalo grass include:

Buffalo grass spreads by stolons (above-ground runners). It tolerates shade very well compared to other varieties. It should be able to survive in areas receiving as little as 40% sunlight, or around 3 hours per day.

Kikuyu vs Buffalo – Key Similarities

Warm-season varieties

Both Kikuyu and Buffalo are considered warm season grasses. This is by far the most common type of grass in Australia and also includes varieties such as Couch and Zoysia.

Warm-season grasses thrive in temperatures between 20-30 degrees celsius. They are best suited to warmer regions such as New South Wales, Queensland and Western Australia.

However, Kikuyu and most Buffalo varieties are fairly cold-resistant thanks to their deep roots, so are perfectly suited to colder climates like Victoria and South Australia.

Pest and weed resistant

Both of these varieties have good natural resistance to pests and weeds. This is due to them being aggressive growers that don’t allow weeds to take hold.

Kikuyu vs Buffalo – Key Differences

Slower to repair

Because Buffalo only has above-ground stolons, it will take longer to repair than the super durable Kikuyu, which also uses under-ground rhizomes. They are, however, both very hardy turfs.

More invasive

Kikuyu is a very invasive grass. If you have flower beds, vegetable patches, or anywhere else you don’t want grass growing, you will need to be vigilant and extra maintenance will be required when compared to Buffalo.


Kikuyu is much faster growing than Buffalo so will require more regular mowing.

Sunlight exposure

Kikuyu requires full sun to thrive and will struggle in shady areas. Buffalo, on the other hand, tolerates shade quite well.


Buffalo is generally a lot more expensive than Kikuyu.


Does Buffalo grass spread quickly?

Buffalo grass can grow quickly but is not considered invasive like Kikuyu. This is because Buffalo grass spreads only above the ground, while Kikuyu also uses under-ground rhizomes.

Photo of author

Steve Kropp

Based in Melbourne, Steve's passion is vegetable gardening, and he’s been writing about it for almost 5 years. He also loves all things DIY and is always looking for a new project. When not working on his own garden projects or blogging, Steve enjoys spending time with his family, cooking meals with produce harvested from his garden, and coaching his son’s footy team.


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