Seeding in Saint Augustine grass lawns can be a concern for many lawn owners. While all lawn types go to seed, as do all plants in one form or another, the differences in how these seeds present themselves is very different across all the different grass types.
For Saint Augustine grass, the seed head and stalk are both very thick and tapers to the top with a pointy spike. While these seed heads and stalks on St Augustine grass break very easy when walked on, they can still be uncomfortable under foot and can be unsightly if left to keep growing without regular lawn mowing during their seeding period.
Stopping St Augustine Grass From Seeding
There really is no way to stop a St Augustine lawn from going to seed, lawns are plants, and as such - all lawns will seed at least once a year. This is normal and natural for a lawn to do.
Sometimes however, a Saint Augustine lawn may go to seed more often than what it should, or the seeding will last longer than a couple or a few weeks as is normal. When this happens it is most often because the lawn is under some type of stress, and the seeding is the lawn's response to that stress. The stress the lawn is under prompts extra seeding in case that stress leads to the death of the lawn, and the seeding is the lawn’s responsive way to try to ensure its future survival if the present lawn should become damaged.
These stress levels can occur and rise in our home lawns at times when the lawn may be suffering from lack of adequate water, lack of nutrition from fertilizers, or from other severe conditions such as excessive cold, strong winds etc.
If our St Augustine lawn is suffering from any type of stress factor which is leading it to seed excessively, then our best course of action would be to try and rectify whatever that cause may be. Increase watering if necessary, implement a good year round fertilization program, put up wind blocks such as plants etc. and these things will help to decrease any stress factors which could possibly be causing some excessive seeding of Saint Augustine grass.
How To Treat Saint Augustine Grass in Seed
If our St Augustine lawn is in seed, and whether this is just normal yearly seeding or if it is otherwise prompted by stress, there are a couple of things we can do to bring the seeding to its conclusion sooner, as well as to keep our St Augustine lawn looking good.
Fertilization is the first thing we want to do. If the lawn was only fertilized in the last few weeks then this step is probably not necessary unless the fertilization was inadequate at the time. If this is the case then a small application of extra fertilizer will improve the lawn's health and ensure the lawn is not feeling any stress from lack of available nutrients. If the next scheduled lawn fertilization is not due for a few more weeks, then now is a good time to bring it forward to fertilize using a complete lawn fertilizer with trace elements and phosphate.
More frequent lawn mowing is also a good idea during seeding for a couple of reasons. First is that it will remove the seed heads more frequently and thus keep the St Augustine lawn looking its best at all times. And secondly and most importantly is that frequent lawn mowing will prompt the lawn to use its energy to repair itself after cutting, and to grow more green leaf as a response. So the extra lawn mowing creates a greener lawn, removes seed heads, and stops the lawn from using its energy from creating any more seed heads. Thus bringing the seeding to a close more quickly while producing a greener healthier lawn.
Will The St Augustine Seed Repair The Lawn With New Growth
The most common question I have been asked is what if the lawn owner left the seeds to mature and spread, will these St Augustine seeds repair any damaged areas of the lawn… and the short answer is no. St Augustine is very difficult to grow from seed, and the returns from any dispersed seed would be almost negligible or nothing at all. So while it is a good idea to mow a lawn without a catcher at some times, during the seeding period is not one of those times. Best to keep the catcher on the mower.