The KPRC Radio Gardenline Tip By Randy Lemmon For 06-19-03 Printer-Friendly Version
St. Augustine Grass Going to Seed
I'm getting lots of questions both on the air and in emails, noting how St. Augustine lawns are seemingly going to seed.
Most people seem very panicked, and want to know if this is anything to worry about. Others want to know if it will help their thinning St. Augustine lawn thicken up, as the seeds are mulch-mowed into the existing turf. And still others want to know if they can harvest those seeds to use elsewhere.
The answers are -- No, No and No! Which is actually GOOD NEWS for everyone and their questions surrounding St. Augustine Grass going to seed. The picture you seed for this isn't that great, but I promise there are seeds on the St. Augustine blades.
First, St. Augustine grass naturally goes to this "seeding" cycle at certain times of the year. Normally, it's June for us in Houston. I've also heard a number of stories concerning this phenomenon relating to the calendar and it happening on the "longest days of the year." I've also seen research on how it happens in the summer, when there's lots of stress on the lawn. Lastly, I've also heard many andecdotal stories about how it only happens on St. Augustine lawns that are less than three years old.
In any of the aforementioned cases, don't panic because there really isn't anything you can do to stop it, and since the seeds are sterile and won't propagate on their own, there isn't anything to do with them. So, to answer the questions in summary - No, the seeding is nothing to worry about… No, mulch-mowed seeds on grass blades will not enhance your yard's growth… And no, there is no reason to try to harvest the seeds, since they are sterile for all intents and purposes.
Ironically, a lot of this same discussion can be said for Bermuda Grass and it's seeds. It goes to seed consistently in May-June as well. When Bermuda Grass goes to seed however, it's quite unlike the description of the St. Augustine seed. For all the little boys in most of us, you'll know exactly what I'm talking about in this coming description of Bermuda Grass going to seed. Bermuda, when going to seed, forms those little "inverted umbrella skeletons." You know? C'mon guys, help me out here. When we were all little-leaguers, we used to plug it from the turf in boredom, and place it in between our gapped teeth. It's the taller stalk from the Bermuda with 3-4 spikes coming out that looks like what an umbrella would look like upside down without the protective umbrella part. (I've come to the determination, that there is no clever or short way to describe this, so here's a great picture….
In summation, the seeding on the St. Augustine and the Bermuda is nothing to panic about and nothing worth propagating. Yes, if might be stress? Is so, you can fix that. If the grass looks otherwise healthy, then just right it off to "That Time of The Season." Or "You Lawn is Very Young."
Until next issue, here's to
Great Gardening from the GardenLine, heard
exclusively weekend mornings from 8 to noon
on Talkradio 950 KPRC.