During the middle to late spring, cool season turfgrasses are in full swing. Soil temps are becoming perfect and outside air temperatures are warming up – your grass is dark green and is looking mint.
But you may now be asking yourself, “what are these seedheads popping up all over my yard?”
In mid- to late spring, cool season grasses – Kentucky bluegrass, perennial ryegrass, and tall fescue – are all going to seed. This is called “stemming” and can be unsightly for some, but this is a natural process and happens every year.
Grass Seeds and Expending Energy
Like all plants, your grass wants to reproduce. During the spring, cool season lawns will begin to use its energy and focus on going to seed. Your turfgrass is now using up a lot of its energy producing and going to seed. Instead of using that food and energy into its roots and grass blades, it’s using that store fertilizer and energy into reproduction and generating seedheads.
Lighter Grass Color
As the cool season grass uses its energy sprouting seeds, you’ll notice a change in your overall lawn color. For one, the seeds have a much lighter hue than the actual grass blades. This can give a pale, hazy appearance.
Second reason for the lighter color is that – as previously mentioned – the grass is expending most of its energy going to seed and trying to reproduce. This is means it’s a great time to apply an application of nitrogen fertilizer to feed your lawn.
These seed heads can often be confused with Poa Annua. The timing for these cool season grass types to go to seed are all in the same springtime window. However Poa Annua (Annual Bluegrass) is a lighter green (lime green) color compared to your Kentucky bluegrass. Read more information about Poa Annua control here.
What To Do
- Frequent mowing
- Sharpen lawn mower blades
- Fertilize your lawn
- Include micronutrients
One of the best lawn care practices is frequent lawn mowing. Now, when your grass is going to seed, is no different and maybe even more important.
When you mow the seed heads off, the grass will begin to grow a harder, woodier stalk. This texture is noticeable particularly when walking barefoot. As you continue to mow, your lawn mower blade will begin to dull much faster. So have a sharp backup blade ready to prevent ripping the grass blades – which will also help prevent lawn disease and fungus like brown patch.
Secondly, as previously mentioned, feed your lawn. A well-rounded nitrogen fertilizer like Carbon Phix is a great option as it contains 20% nitrogen, 12% potash, and 5% humic acid. You can also replenish a lot of micronutrients with Green Balance, and begin to prepare your lawn for the summer stresses with Summer Survival.
Grass Going To Seed FAQs
Your lawn going to seed (or stemming) is a natural process. You should mow frequently, ensuring your mower blade is sharp as woody stalks will begin to regrow. This time of year, in the spring, cool season grasses will use up a lot of energy producing seedheads, so make sure you feed your lawn a well balanced fertilizer now.
No. The seeds that the cool season grasses produce in the spring are sterile and will not germinate.
I hope this helps clear up some of your questions about why your grass is going to seed. Please leave a comment or question below.