Seed Heads in my Lawn – What are they, and how can I stop them?

Recently, weather conditions have been unpredictable (putting it lightly!) across Australia. This has led to unusual seed head growth in many people’s lawns. So why is this happening? And how can you prevent or rectify it?

What are seed heads?

Most common lawn types in Australia do not produce sterile seed heads. These seed heads will not cause your lawn to spread (this can only be achieved through sprigs or runners), nor are they necessarily a bad thing for your lawn. They just impact your lawn’s appearance, and ruin that soft feeling underfoot. In saying this, there are some varieties (especially older varieties) of Couch and Kikuyu, that do produce viable seed heads. If this is the case with your lawn, mowing often will help to mitigate lawn spread.

Seed heads are a natural part of the seasonal cycle, however, the seed head cycle can vary greatly due to both climate and stage of growth – usually this lasts between 4 and 6 weeks.

Why has my lawn gone to seed?

There are usually two main reasons why your lawn has gone to seed:

1. It’s under stress

  • Usually this is from something like a lack of water, nutrients or a drastic change in the weather.

2. It’s occurring naturally as a seasonal change

  • In most cases, this happens just once or twice a year at a specific time (usually the change of seasons).

In either case, if you notice seed heads in your lawn, make sure that you aerate, fertilise and water the lawn deeply if you haven’t done so in the past 6-8 weeks. This should speed up the seed head cycle, and you should see them start to disappear on their own within 4-6 weeks.

As much as we would all like to be able to control the weather, we know this isn’t the case. If you have done everything correctly care-wise, and your seeding is due to a dramatic weather change, this should correct itself once the conditions have gone back to normal, or once the plant has adjusted.

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In saying this, many lawnies have noticed that this has not been the case recently. This is most likely because of the inconsistent temperatures and weather conditions we’ve experienced lately. Your grass finds inconsistent weather very stressful – it can’t quite relax and settle back into normal growth, resulting in increased seedhead production.

So what can I do about it?

There are four actions that you can take to help rectify seed head production:

1. 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.

2. Plant Grown Regulator (PGR) Application

Plant Growth Regulators are designed to limit vertical growth in your lawn. They can also help to reduce the amount of seed head that your grass produces. The use of full rate PGR and regular mowing twice weekly should minimise the amount of seed head that flowers in your lawn.

3. Feed your lawn

The more healthy your lawn is, the less it will seed. Using a fertiliser that has a good Nitrogen and Phosphorous ratio will help to prevent the occurrence of seed heads whilst maintaining lawn health. Remember to AVOID fertilisers that have high potassium levels. Potassium actually encourages fruiting and flowering (or in this case – seeding!).

4. Check Soil Salinity

High soil salinity can put grass under stress, which can cause seed head to appear. An application of gypsum or calcium may be required to reduce the amount of stress that your grass is under, and therefore stop seed head production

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Quantum-H is a liquid humic acid concentrate. Humics provide organic and natural nutrition for plants and detoxify the soil. Buffers toxins from fertilisers.

Primo Maxx

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Primo Maxx is for the reduction of leaf and stem growth of lawn species and as an aid to Turf Management. Primo Maxx is a type of plant growth regulator (PGR).

These strange seasonal conditions will hopefully settle in due course, and the seed heads will cease as well.