Turfgrass plants are just like the other plants in our ecosystems. Most, plants flower in order to reproduce and keep their species alive. I think Simba from the Lion King put it best, and we call it the circle of life. That being said, what exactly is happening.
Our plants need to reproduce. One way of reproduction is through seed production. Many of the plants in our yards flower at different times of the year. The turfgrass plants in our yards such as Kentucky bluegrass, perennial ryegrass, and tall fescue, begin their seed set in the spring. This is caused by warmer temperatures and longer day lengths. Most of the seeds produced will never actually reproduce, because they need about 4 months on the stalk to produce a viable seed. The plants use a lot of energy to produce these seeds, and thus we need to keep them well fed with a proper fertilization schedule.
What to do?
The spring season is the time of the year for seed production. This also happens be be the time of the year when we are working to make our lawns look their best. The stalks can be uncomfortable to walk on, and cause some slight thinning of your lawn. The best way to rid your lawn of the stalks is...... MOWING!!!!! Mowing is one of the most important cultural practices that we perform. Mow often, mow with a sharp blade, and mow at a higher height of cut. Do NOT lower your height of cut. This will put enormous stress on your plants and will weaken your lawn for the rest of the season, leaving it susceptible to grubs, weeds, and diseases.
Author: Andrew Muntz received his Master’s of Science in Turfgrass science and his Bachelors of Science in Landscape Horticulture at The Ohio State University, Columbus OH.