Do you have a stemmy or fuzzy lawn this spring?
The cool season turfgrasses growing in Kansas City have been in full-blown seedhead production mode in the last week. The common lawn grasses, Kentucky bluegrass and tall fescue are prolific seedhead producers. Seedhead production requires energy from the plant, so it is likely the turf will not only look stemmy due to the seed stalks, but the turfgrass may even thin out. Don’t worry, this is quite a natural occurrence and is nothing to worry about.
What can I do to keep it from looking so rough?
- Fertilize soon!
- Keep your mower sharp
- Resist the urge to mow shorter
- Water regularly
Michigan State University Extension recommends a fertilizer application following the seedhead flush to help the turf recover, especially if you haven’t fertilized yet this spring or fertilized back in the early spring. If you are on our lawn-care program, have no fear, the fertilizer we use is feeding your lawn right through this seedhead flush. Additionally, keep the mower blade sharp and don’t lower the mowing height to try and remove seedheads. Annual bluegrass produces seedheads below the 1/8-inch mowing height on golf course putting greens. We are seeing fescue plants produce seed heads at about 2” of height so lowering the mowing height is not going to solve the seedhead problem. Cutting the lawn short this time of year will cause the grass to put all of its energy into leaf blade recovery and will leave the roots starved and un-able to feed the plant through the summer.
For those that think the lawn is going to be reseeded by the natural seedhead production, think again. Even if the seed was allowed to reach maturity, which would take about four months, allowed to dry, and then harvested, you’d still need to make sure that seed would find a home in the soil in order to germinate. If you need to fill in some areas in your lawn, it’ll be easier and more effective to have the lawn seeded in the fall with a good quality turf type tall fescue.
As is always the case, give us a call if you have any questions about your lawn in particular and we can have an expert come by and see if you are experiencing the same seed head ugliness we all are, or if you have something more sinister going on in your lawn.