How do I stop seed heads coming back? - Lawn Solutions Australia

How do I stop seed heads coming back?

In recent months conditions have been a bit all over the place in many areas. This has led to some unusual reoccurences of seed heads, so let’s take a look at why this might be happening on your lawn and what you can do about it…

What are seed heads?

Most common lawn types in Australia produce a sterile seed head, meaning they can’t be spread by seed, only through sprigs or runners. Although going to seed in most cases isn’t a bad thing for your lawn, it doesn’t look great or feel soft underfoot.

The seed head cycle can vary greatly due to climate and stage of growth but are a natural part of the seasonal cycle. As a rule of thumb, the cycle will last for between 4 and 6 weeks.

Why has my lawn gone to seed?

Normally when a turf variety goes to seed, it’s due to one of the following two main reasons:

  • It’s under stress from something, usually a lack of water, nutrient, or a change in weather. If you have seed head, aerate, fertilise and water the lawn deeply if you haven’t done so in the past 6-8 weeks.
  • It’s occurring naturally, coinciding with seasonal change – in most varieties occurring just once or twice a year at a specific time of year.

In these situations, if your lawn has been fertilised recently and has sufficient moisture in the soil, the seed heads should stop appearing on their own within 4-6 weeks.

If there has been a dramatic weather change, it will stop seeding once conditions have gone back to normal or once the plant has adjusted.

But some of you may have found that this hasn’t been the case recently. This is likely because of the inconsistent temperatures and weather conditions. You have probably found recently one day you are wearing shorts, the next jeans, the next its raining all day – or all of these in the same day!

Your grass finds this inconsistent weather very stressful and it can’t quite relax and settle into normal growth. This presents itself in seedhead production, a sign of this stress.

So what can you do about it?

  • Regular Mowing – Continuing to mow the seed heads away will ensure that less energy is given by the plant to seed head production and more is given to healthy leaf growth.
  • Plant Growth Regulator (PGR) Application – Plant Growth Regulators like Primo Maxx limit vertical growth and they can also help to reduce the amount of seedhead that your grass produces. Regular mowing, twice weekly, and the use of PGR at full rates will minimise the seed head from flowering.
  • Check Soil Salinity -High salinity can put grass under stress and seedhead can appear. An application of gypsum or calcium may be required to reduce turf stress helping to stop seed head production. 
  • Stop stressing! – If you have tried everything recommended so far, but these pesky seed heads are still appearing, stop stressing, you have done everything you can to ensure your grass is healthy – it will be just fine.

Sometimes the environment cannot be wrangled and you simply have to ride it out and let it do it’s own thing. These strange seasonal conditions will settle in due course and the seed heads will cease as well.

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