Buffalo Vs. Kikuyu Grass: What Are the Differences?

Last Updated: April 16, 2024

Choosing the right type of grass can make or break your lawn. With so many grass types available, selecting the best one for your garden makeover can be complex.

In this article, we compare two popular types of grass in turf laying: Buffalo and Kikuyu. Let’s take a look at their differences to find out which one is perfect for your outdoor space.

The Main Difference Between Buffalo and Kikuyu Grass

Buffalo grass comes in many different varieties such as Soft Leaf Buffalo (broad leaf blade that’s soft to touch compared to other scratchy varieties) and Shademaster Buffalo (a dark green turf that grows well even with minimal sunlight). Most Buffalo grass varieties share the same features such as resistance to weeds, drought and salt. They’re also one of the easier turfs to look after and can keep their colours during the winter.

Kikuyu grass, on the other hand, does not do well in heavily shaded laws. This is the major difference between Buffalo and Kikuyu — Buffalo is the better option for shady gardens, specifically the Shademaster variant. Aside from that one disadvantage, Kikuyu grass has many benefits. It’s quick-growing and easy to repair. It also has a high resistance to weeds and boasts a lovely green colour all-year-round. As it’s relatively hard-wearing, it’s a great option for families with dogs and children.

Which Grass Is Better for Drought-Prone Areas?

In ideal circumstances, your lawn will be constantly well-watered either by rain or by hand. However, Australia is prone to dry periods and even drought.

Buffalo grasses are more suitable for drought-prone areas than Kikuyu variants as they have deep root systems. Compared to other grasses, they can get nutrients and moisture from further into the soil.

Soft Leaf Buffalo, which is born and bred in Australia for the country’s unique conditions, has especially proven its superior performance in drought conditions over Kikuyu varieties.


A major aspect of having a lawn is having one that looks visually attractive. To achieve this, it must have an even green colour throughout. Both Buffalo and Kikuyu maintain their lush, green colours well. The main difference is that most Buffalo varieties are broad leaf while Kikuyu has a fine leaf.

Maintenance Requirements

If you have active children or own pets who like to run around, you need a grass variant that can hold up well against heavy foot traffic. Kikuyu stands up well in non-shady gardens but if you want a variety that isn’t quick to wear in gardens with plenty of shade, opt for Buffalo.

Buffalo grasses are also very low-maintenance. They are slower-growing compared to Kikuyu, so you’ll need to mow them less often. If you want to learn how to best take care of Kikuyu, check out our Kikuyu maintenance tips.

Is Buffalo Grass Better than Kikuyu?

This ultimately depends on the type of garden you have. Kikuyu grass tends to face problems in a shady garden but if you have a yard full of sun, then Kikuyu can be the most cost-effective option for you.

But if budget is not your highest priority and you have patches of shade in your yard, then Buffalo is the better choice. Buffalo is popular in Australian lawns because it is low-maintenance, hardy and shade tolerant. If damaged due to active kids, pets and foot traffic, Buffalo grasses will self-repair at a rapid pace.

Additionally, Buffalo is non-invasive, which means your surrounding garden will require less maintenance. Mowing will also be less of a chore during the summer months as it has a slower growth rate compared to vigorous Kikuyu.

Which Variant Requires More Care?

When it comes to care requirements, Buffalo grass generally demands less maintenance compared to Kikuyu. While both grasses benefit from regular watering, mowing, and occasional fertilisation, Buffalo typically has a slower growth rate, reducing the frequency of mowing during the growing season. Additionally, Buffalo’s dense growth habit helps inhibit weed growth, further reducing the need for herbicides or manual weeding.

Kikuyu, on the other hand, can be more vigorous in its growth, requiring more frequent mowing to keep it at a desirable height. It also tends to be more prone to thatch buildup, which necessitates dethatching procedures to maintain a healthy lawn. Moreover, Kikuyu may require more attention in terms of pest and disease management, especially in warmer climates where it is susceptible to fungal infections and pests like armyworms. Overall, while both types of grass require care and attention, Buffalo grass typically demands less maintenance over time.

Regardless of your choice, as long as you have a good lawn care company helping you with maintenance, you shouldn’t have to worry about the condition of your grass. Highly trained experts can keep your lawn lush the whole year, regardless of which variant you choose.

Which Grass is the Best for You?

Want to learn more about the differences between Buffalo and Kikuyu grass? Don’t hesitate to contact us today. At Green Oasis Lawn and Reticulation, our friendly turf professionals are always ready to answer your questions and guide you through our comprehensive range of lawn care services, ensuring your garden thrives no matter your choice.


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