Does your turf look 'fuzzy' in the spring?
Do you see small patches of seed heads in your turf?
If you answer yes to these questions, you have grass seed heads forming in your turf.
All grasses used for turf in the UK form seed heads and this is a natural process. Seeds are how grass plants propagate and spread, and the seeds are produced in a seed head. During the spring, they emerge from the grass plants and stick their heads up above the leaves. Some grasses will only form seed heads on stems that are 100-250mm tall. Therefore, if you mow your turf you will never see them. Other grasses, like bentgrass (golf greens) and some ryegrasses, will form seed heads on stems that are only 50mm tall. These you will see in your turf, but most will be cut off when you mow. When a turfgrass is producing seed heads, you will notice that they do not mow off very neatly. The stem of a seed head is tough and fibrous. This allows the seed heads to be held upright even in strong winds. The period of time when seed heads form will differ for each grass, but, in general, it will last for several weeks to a month. After that, the grass will resume growing leaves, and your mowing will look neater. However, there is one particular grass weed (Annual Meadow Grass) that is very common throughout Britain, which will continue to form seed heads for most of the year.
How to manage your turf when it is forming seed heads:
The best advice is to mow often and use a sharp mower blade.
Fertilise your turf properly. Properly fertilised turf will grow out of the seed head production stage rapidly, and the grass will be easier to mow neatly.
It is NOT recommended that you lower the height of your mower.
If it is practical, remove the weed grasses by hand, remembering to take the roots as well.
Seed heads are produced naturally by all turfgrass species but with appropriate management you can reduce their impact. The weed Annual Meadow Grass, or Poa annua, also produces seed heads, which may become more evident in a lawn dependent on the seasons, onsite growing conditions and maintenance employed. Always purchase high quality turf, to help minimise the occurrence of this generally unwanted grass type.