Friday, May 15, 2015

Seed heads

All grass species produce seed at some point in their life cycle, this time of year many of our typical cool season grasses are seeding.  Poa annua or Annual Bluegrass is a prolific seed producer and one of the few grasses that can seed at a variety of mowing heights - from rough height to greens height.

The greens at FCC are predominantly poa, some of the poa is more of a perennial biotype and produces less seed, some is more of the annual biotype (think #1 green) and produces more seed.  The older the green, the more perennial poa and typically less seed.

We are currently in the middle of the seed-head flush, within a few weeks the seeding will be complete.  During this seeding stage, greens tend to be a little slower and little bumpier due to the seed-heads in the way.  We try to limit the amount of seed-heads on the greens but there will always be some seeding that occurs.

The main strategy we use to reduce the seeding pressure is to apply growth regulators to the greens to slow down the growth of the plant and inhibit the production of seed.  This application is timed with 'Growing Degree Days', giving us a great tool to apply the regulator at the optimal time and give us the best chance of success.  We follow certain models that give us day to day readings in our zip code on where we are in the phonological calendar, once we hit the correct 'Growing Degree Day' we apply the regulator.

The suppression this year on seed-heads was a little above average, but we are still seeing seeds.  This natural process will conclude in a few weeks, leaving us great greens for the remainder of the season.