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tif tuf seed head

By Stephanie Langford

September 20 2022

4 Minute(s) read

Identify and Fight Lawn Seed Heads This Summer

Seed heads are not particularly common, so when these strange little things start popping up on the lawn, many people think at first that they are weeds. But seed heads actually grow from the grass itself. 
Excessive seed heads continue to grow in hot weather conditions with minimal water, so it’s important to put an effective watering system in place to maintain a healthy lawn. 


Grass Seed Head Identification

Every turf variety in Australia, including Sir Walter Buffalo, Eureka Kikuyu Premium, and Tif Tuf Bermuda, produces a sterile seed head, which means they can’t be spread by seed, only through vegetative sprigs or runners. Although it isn’t a huge concern if your lawn goes to seed, it often doesn’t look great or feel soft underfoot and can be a sign of an underlying problem.

Sir Walter Buffalo Seeds

If your buffalo grass is going to seed, there’s no need to worry, as this is just a part of the survival mechanism of the lawn. Extreme weather changes like hot weather can encourage sprouts. Most buffalo seeds will look like a purple or green weed with a flower and green stem.

Kikuyu Seed Heads

If you see a cluster of flower spikes in your lawn that have a white stem and look like a cobweb, then your Kikuyu grass is going to seed. A lack of nutrients, soil moisture and pH issues can cause the lawns’ seed heads to pop up. 

Couch Grass Seed Heads

Couch seeds are often mistaken for weeds as the exposed seeds sprout above grass level. And, if left untreated, these couch grass seeds will become weeds. Couch seeds will look greeny purple with a cluster of spikes and are common in late spring to early summer.

Why Is My Grass Sprouting Seeds and How to Fix It?

Normally when turf goes to seed, it’s under some kind of stress – usually a lack of water or nutrients. Seed heads are, therefore, pretty easy to avoid simply by sticking to a consistent lawn care program, including regular watering, mowing, and fertilising throughout the year.

If your lawn goes to seed due to a dramatic change in weather, the problem will usually resolve on its own within a couple of weeks or so and return to business as usual. The lawn will stop seeding once conditions have normalised or the grass has adjusted. But if weather conditions have been fairly consistent, you need to look at what may have caused the lawn to become stressed in the first place, such as insufficient water or nutrients or poor soil composition. A soil pH test might be worth a shot if your lawn is really suffering. 

If you haven’t had a lot of water or haven’t fertilised within the past 2–3 months, a good deep soaking and applying a good-quality slow-release fertiliser should resolve any nutrient or water deficiency shortly after the grass will go back to normal.

We recommend Lawn Solutions Australia slow-release fertiliser or Oxafert pre-emergent fertiliser. Applying a liquid wetting agent such as Lawn Soaker during warmer weather can also be helpful.

3 Simple Ways To Prevent Seed Heads in Your Lawn

Mow regularly

Mowing the lawn regularly is one of the simplest ways to prevent seed heads from forming. Seed heads form when the grass is allowed to grow too tall, so trimming the grass frequently can help to keep it short and prevent seed head formation. Mowing the lawn at least once a week is recommended during the growing season.

Fertilise properly

Proper fertilisation is important for maintaining a healthy lawn and preventing seed head formation. Over-fertilising can stimulate excessive growth and lead to the production of seed heads. Following the recommended application rates and frequency for your grass type and soil conditions is important.

Water deeply but less frequently

Deep watering is essential for promoting healthy root growth and preventing seed head formation. Shallow, frequent watering can encourage the growth of shallow roots and lead to weaker grass plants that are more prone to producing seed heads. Watering the lawn deeply but less frequently is recommended, ideally about one inch of water per week. This allows the water to penetrate deep into the soil and encourages the development of strong, healthy roots.

Trust Your Local Lawn Supplier

If your lawn has an ongoing seeding issue and you can’t seem to get on top of it, reach out to our expert lawn care team today!