The Q&A Archives: Lumpy lawn of Korean grass

Question: ON A RECENT TRIP TO SAN DIEGO we noticed a grass that was variously identified as 'buffalo' 'Korean' 'bunching'. It was short, not requiring mowing, a light bright green. It was in a parkway and had a thick thatch, and would bunch into a 'lumpy' texture. Do you have any idea what kind of grass it is, and would it be suitable for zone four?

Answer: The grass you saw is most likely Korean grass, or Zoysia tenuifolia. More of a ground cover than lawn grass, it's only hardy in USDA Zones 9 through 10. The thick thatch, lumpy growth you describe is very characteristic.

There is a native American grass called buffalo grass, or Buchloe dactyloides. This is a perennial bunching grass hardy to USDA zone 4 and grown in many parts of the nation. It's reasonably care-free, requiring little water or maintenance, and spreads rapidly by surface runners once the plants become established.

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