St. Augustine Grass Going to Seed
After returning from my two week trip "down under" I was sort of surprised to see how many email questions referenced St. Augustine grass ‘going to seed'. However, while I was gone, being the typical weather geek that I am, I do tend to monitor weather reports and knew how quickly it heated up in the Houston area. So, after my initial surprise it then made perfect sense to me that there would definitely be grass seed cropping up because of the quick heat up, timed almost perfectly with the ascent to the longest days of daylight. Plus, if you consider the other parameter regarding grass seed (that being "newer" yards) and realize how many people are dealing with their first-ever landscape, then it all makes perfect sense. So, I thought it was worth cracking open that "seed issue" once again.
Most people seem almost 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! And never before have that many NOs amounted to so much good.
First, you need to know that 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." That too is coming up in the month of June. 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 anecdotal stories about how it only happens on St. Augustine lawns that are less than three years old. Or, as noted earlier, it happens to the newcomers more than anyone.
If you have 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.
Coincidentally, a lot of this same discussion can be applied to Bermuda Grass and its 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 pull it from the turf in boredom, and place it in between our gapped teeth as if we were country bumpkins, eh!? 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, it could be caused by stress? Is so, you can fix that. And if you have to ask how, then you are either a brand new subscriber to these email tips or you haven't been paying very close attention to all the information we provide on making healthy lawns in all our tip sheets. Just in case, here's a link to my fertilization schedule. If the grass looks otherwise healthy, then just right it off to "That Time of The Season." Or "You Lawn is Very Young."
Speak Randy, Speak!!!
Lately, I've been approached to do a various number of "consulting" jobs in a wide array of venues from "starting up a nursery business" to "emceeing an awards night" to "evaluating a new organic fertilizer." I've also been asked to be the featured speaker at a number of garden clubs and homeowners associations as well as flat out requests to do personal landscape consultations. My goal is to use this information via this abbreviated email tip to create a link back at the website, explaining what else I can do for GardenLine outside of these tip sheets and the radio show. It's just that you, the email tip subscribers, get to see it first.
As a recent example of an unusual consulting request (which, by the way, I turned down) I was asked to evaluate an organic fertilizer that is new to the market. I turned it down because I don't want that to conflict with how I've always tried to evaluate fertilizers via university research with empirical, measurable and quantifiable results. But I have recently scheduled some speaking engagements and landscape consultations. However, because there are so many requests and only so many days in which to do them, I thought it was worth noting that I do need plenty of lead time. In other words, if you're a garden club and want me to speak next week, that's probably not going to happen. However, if you're booking speakers for this fall and next spring, there's still ample opportunity.
The most often asked request is for garden clubs and homeowners associations, and there is a speaker's fee involved, which is adjusted for two things 1. The size of the groups 2. The distance I have to travel. For obvious reasons, related to the price of gasoline, I have had to make some adjustments to what I charge for such speaking engagements. If you are interested in having me speak to your garden club or homeowner's association, or even to act as emcee for an event, just send me the request via email. All I ask is for you to provide some basics regarding the event and I will be able to tell you more precisely the going rate and use the word SPEAKER in the subject line. Email Here
As for "consultations" in general, there are two types that I do under the name Randy Lemmon Consulting. 1. Verbal consults: where I come for 1-2 hours and you take all the notes. That's probably the cheapest alternative, but this too has had to see an increase in pricing, due to rising fuel costs. 2. Written Consultation: this is where I come out again for 1-2 hours, but I take all the notes, come back and put together a Consultation Package which is like a specific treatise for your own landscape. This is mainly for folks who are true do-it-yourselfers, but that may have gotten a new landscape that seems a bit daunting. Needless to say this is the more expensive alternative and takes about 1 week to turnaround the complete "written consultation."
Randy Lemmon Consulting is NOT A DESIGN FIRM. This is specifically for helping people with existing landscapes, figuring out what stays and what goes, what works and what doesn't and how specifically to solve existing problems whether they be disease, insect or cultural practice. If you are interested in either of these, once again email here, but indicate the word CONSULTATION in the subject line.
If your request doesn't fall either into the SPEAKER or CONSULTATION definition don't hesitate to make your request via email, and don't hesitate to come up with your own subject line descriptor. I appreciate your consideration, and look forward to seeing how I can help you outside of the radio show and these email tips.
Until next issue, here's to Great Gardening from the GardenLine, heard exclusively, 6-10 a.m. Saturdays and 7-10 a.m. Sundays, only on NewsRadio 740 KTRH.
Be sure to check out Randy's Event Page to see where else Randy will be for the next few weekends. Bring your plants, bugs, and diseases for identification purpose.