BREAKING NEWS: Seed-heads Are Out in Full Force!
Spring-time always brings about a feeling of refreshment. The warm air on your face will give you a burst of energy like nothing else! Kentucky bluegrass also gets a burst of energy in the spring. Instead of using this energy to enjoy a cold drink on the patio like we do, the grass uses this energy to make seed-heads!
During the seed head process, the amount of leaf surface-area is greatly decreased, which hinders photosynthesis. This can cause a thinner appearance in the turf. As you can imagine, the stalks of the grass plant normally have about 3 leaves shooting off of them to photosynthesize the sun’s energy. However during the seed-head process, those leaves deteriorate to make room for seed. Your lawn will look worse, and can appear sparse especially after mowing down seed heads. Once the seed head process is over, your lawn canopy will lower again. That “stemmy” look will be gone and your lawn will become thicker, lusher, and greener than ever!
When Will Seed-heads Start?
You will start to see seed-heads popping up in your lawn between late May and June. Many home-owners get confused when they see seed-heads in their lawn. They are commonly misidentified as weeds. Some people will over react, especially if they recently installed their lawn. What they fail to realize is that this is a natural part of the grass’s life cycle, and seed-heads don’t usually last too long… At most a month, but usually far less than that!
Seed-heads become the plants priority for nutrient usage during this time. Unfortunately, this can cause the lawn’s appearance to suffer. Since the grass is using a lot of energy to grow the seed heads, the growth of the grass blades and roots will decline. The stalks of the seed heads will also grow taller than the rest of the grass blades and can look rather unappealing.
Seed-heads Won’t Help…
Seed-heads will almost NEVER help your lawn by spreading seed… For the seed to be effective, it must reach full maturity (which can take up to 4 months), be allowed to dry, AND find an ideal spot in the soil to germinate. Unless you’re prepared to do all this work and let your lawn grow far too long, continue to care for your seed-head covered lawn the same way you did before.
Keep up with mowing! Never take more than 1/3 of the grass blade off at a time. Taller seed-heads can be cut down by a larger percentage. Be sure to sharpen your mower blades more frequently during seed-head season because the tough stalks are harder on your mower. Sharp mower blades will improve the look of your lawn, and help to prevent disease! Dull mower blades will “tear” your grass instead of making a clean cut, leaving it with a tinge of brown. Mowed seed-heads will also add brown to your lawn, but they will breakdown eventually. In fact, the clippings from seed-heads are very rich in nitrogen and supply your lawn with nutrients as they breakdown!
Water your lawn during seed-head season too! Keeping your turf healthy will make sure that the negative aesthetic effects of seed-heads will be minimized.
Fertilize Your Lawn To Revitalize After Seed-Heads
We recommend that home-owners fertilize their lawn after seed-head season. This is to compensate for the grass’s over-expenditure of nutrients on growing seed-heads, Replenishing your lawn with nutrients will help thicken it up, and promote strong root growth again. Use a well-balanced fertilizer, or even a fertilizer with a high middle number. This number represents the phosphorous content (remember N-P-K). A lot of phosphorous will have been used by your grass during seed-head season because it’s essential to stalk and root development.
During seed head time, your lawn becomes less vegetative (leafy) which makes your new sod or lawn look thin and sparse, but once the seed head process is over, your lawn canopy will lower again. That “stemmy” look will be gone and your lawn will become more vegetative (leafy) again looking thicker, lusher, and greener than ever!! Seed-heads are a natural occurrence. They can put a damper on your beautiful Kentucky Bluegrass lawn for a month or so. However, if you keep up with regular maintenance and fertilize, you will hardly even notice seed-head season. We also get seed heads here at the sod farm. Don’t be alarmed if you pick up your sod early in the season and happen to see a few… They won’t be there for long!