Managing Seedheads – Turfgrass Science at Purdue University

Managing Seedheads

Kentucky bluegrass, tall fescue and perennial ryegrass all produce seedheads that look unsightly in lawns. These seedheads are easily visible in maintained turfgrass because they grow faster and more unevenly than normal grass blades. Also, since the seedhead stalks are so tough, they do not cut cleanly and leave a light green or white tip behind after mowing (photo). In perennial ryegrass lawns, seedheads will turn brown and dry out which can cause lawns to have brown, dry patches.

Seedheads require a lot of energy from the plant to produce. This means that, over time, turf density starts to decrease. However, some cultivars produce more seedheads than others so there may be some variety in the frequency of seedheads between lawns.

To manage seedheads, lawns should be mowed frequently with sharp mower blades to ensure a clean, even cut. Do not set the mower at a lower height-this will only encourage weeds to grow in the turf.

For professionals, you can control seedheads with growth regulators but the timing and rate must be very accurate. If you are already seeing seedheads in the turf, it is too late for an effective application.


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