What Actions to Take When Your Lawn Goes to Seed

What Actions to Take When Your Lawn Goes to Seed

Maintaining a lush green lawn is a matter of pride for many homeowners. However, it can often become a source of worry when brown, brittle spots appear on the lawn. These spots indicate that the grass has entered the reproductive stage of its lifecycle and is going to seed. During this stage, the grass turns yellowish and dry, leading to an unsightly appearance that homeowners dread.

When a lawn “goes to seed,” it produces seed heads, which are the flowering parts of the grass that will eventually produce seeds. These heads are located at the top of the blades of grass and give the lawn a dry, brittle, and brown look. While it may seem beneficial to have a lawn that produces seeds, the change in appearance can be frustrating if you want a healthy and vibrant green lawn.

What does it mean when a lawn goes to seed?

seedheads on blades of grass

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Grass undergoes four stages during its lifecycle. It begins with the germination phase when seeds begin to sprout and develop roots. Then, once germination has occurred, grass enters a growing stage where it becomes healthier and more robust. After that, it reaches maturation and gives your lawn the gorgeous green appearance you want. Finally, grass begins to reproduce and flower towards the end of its life.

When grass has entered the reproductive stage, the blades begin to split and form seedheads. The seedheads disperse seeds for new grass. However, they typically cannot reach the soil, so they likely won’t germinate in your lawn, which is what causes those tough brown patches. This is a natural part of a healthy grass lifecycle and is unavoidable. However, once you spot those brown patches, you can take action to get rid of the unsightly spots and brittle seedheads.

Here’s what to do if your lawn goes to seed

woman mowing grass lawn outside

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If your lawn has gone to seed, there are multiple solutions available to you. Luckily, they’re things you likely already know how to do. While there isn’t a way to stop a lawn from going to seed, these solutions will help return it to its vibrant green state. First, ensure your mower blades are properly sharpened. The sharper the blades, the easier it will be to snip off the tough and coarse seedheads. You’ll also want to mow more often. Once this seedhead process starts in one area, it will likely happen all over the rest of your lawn. Due to the texture of the seedheads, you may need to resharpen the mower blades more frequently to ensure the best cut.

After your lawn has left the reproductive stage, you need to give it adequate nutrients. What your lawn needs is dependent on the species of grass you grow. An appropriate fertilizer and watering schedule will prolong the vegetative state and put off the next reproductive stage. That way, your lawn stays greener for longer.

Dr Heidi Parkes

By Dr Heidi Parkes

Senior Information Extension Officer QLD Dept of Agriculture & Fisheries.