Grass is an essential part of many landscapes, and grass seeds are used to grow new grass. But not all grass seeds are the same. Different types of grasses require different types of seeds, and each type of grass seed has a unique production process.
Of course, grass grows from seeds like other plants, but some wonder where the huge loads of grass seeds are coming from in the market.
Grass belongs to the Poaceae family which is a grass family and includes various well-known plants like wheat, rice, and sugar cane. The grass is also a part of this family and spreads through seeds, rhizomes, and many other means that are present in later parts of the guide.
In this guide, I will answer this wondering question: where does the grass seed come from? Additionally, how can you produce your own grass seeds?
Types of Grass Seed
Before we delve into the production process, let’s first explore the different types of grass seed. There are two main categories: cool-season grasses and warm-season grasses.
Include species such as Kentucky bluegrass, fescue, and ryegrass. These grasses grow best in cooler temperatures, making them ideal for the northern United States and Canada.
Include species such as Bermuda grass, St. Augustine grass, and Zoysia grass. These grasses grow best in warmer temperatures, making them ideal for the southern United States and tropical regions.
Are grass seeds mechanically created or come from the grass plant?
Grass seeds come from grass plants. Grasses produce seeds only if they are not mowed and allowed to grow tall and have inflorescence. The inflorescences then recede into dormancy.
The seeds remain growing from the minute size to the hardened seed of large size from flowering to dormancy. That hardening of seeds is known as the maturation of seeds.
When the grass seeds get fully matured, they are ready for harvesting or natural dispersal.
Many professional growers have large fields of grasses for the production of grass seeds. They harvest them and sell them after packing.
Note: The stages from flowering to dormancy are critical stages and much caring. Any unfavorable change in environment or resources can lead to a huge loss in form of non-viable seeds.
Stages of grass seed production
Grass seeds produce on the grass plant itself. When the grass plant is left unmowed, it grows taller and taller and reaches the flowering stage, where the actual seed production starts.
The grass seed production completes in two stages:
The very first stage in grass seed production is the cluster formation of flowers that are known as inflorescence. The plant goes to inflorescence when the plant is developed enough to have a sufficient number of leaf blades.
On getting favorable environmental conditions, the plants get in the cluster formation stage. Grass flowers have male and female reproductive organs on separate flowers.
When the pollen from both male and female organs fertilize, then the fertilization occurs. Pollen gets transferred by any means of wind or insects.
After the fertilization, the grass seed production starts after the fertilization of the ovaries. The process of seed production in grasses is known as apomixis.
During apomixis, seed production occurs in plants when the ovary is stimulated by the release of pollen without fertilization. It results in the formation of a clone of the parent plant.
History of grass seeds of various species
Bluegrass commonly has thoughts of banjos, the latest type of bluegrass has a different kind of groove. The Kentucky Bluegrass came to the United States along with the European settlers.
Kentucky Bluegrass is called Kentucky because Kentucky is the place where the first time seeds were collected to be produced. While the Bluegrass name was given due to the bluish hue of grass during the spring season.
Bermudagrass was first brought to the US from Africa during the 18th century. History shows that the seeds of bermudagrass get snuck onto the ships along with hay.
Bermuda grass is well known for its better ability to bear heavy traffic. This grass was widely used as the lawn and golf course grass during the 1920s.
Zoysia grass was named zoysia after the name of botanist Karl von Zois. It was first grown in Japan during the 12th century and this grass has a long history of introduction to other places on Earth.
Zoysia grass was first introduced to the US in 1911, but it became commercially available during the 1950s.
St. Augustine Grass
St. Augustine grass is native to the Gulf of Mexico, West Africa, and West Indies. It was first introduced to the United States during the 1890s and it’s been used turfgrass in Florida.
Centipede grass was imported from China during the 20th century and procured by USDA scientists. Nowadays, the centipede is commonly found in the Southeast.
Fescues are of two types. Fine and tall fescues.
Fine fescues have their origin in Europe and Asia. It has been used as a golf course grass in Scotland since the 16th century. Fine fescues are well known for their tolerance to shade and weather. It has a good combination with Kentucky bluegrass.
While Tall fescues were introduced in the United States from Europe in the 19th century. It has the ability to tolerate nutrient-lacking soils.
How can you produce grass seed?
Grass seed production is much simpler than other seeds-producing crops. You can produce your own grass seeds for the next seeding from your grass.
Here are the steps to produce grass seeds:
- Allow the grass to grow on its own without cutting it for the next 20 to 30 days. Take a look that grass stalks will grow and develop seed heads.
- Check the seed heads to determine whether seeds are ready to harvest. Pull a stalk and grasp it against the palm.
- Grasp the seed stalk with your hand by holding it between your forefinger and thumb.
- Put a little pressure while grasping to release the seeds in your fingers. Now carefully collect all the seeds in a plastic bag.
- Now move to the next stalk and grasp it with little pressure and harvest/collect the seeds. In this way, move from stalk to stalk and keep harvesting the seed heads until you finish the whole grass area or you have enough grass seeds.
- After collecting enough grass seeds, mow down the grass with a lawn mower. Mow it again after a few days to give it a better shape.
Other methods to grow grass than seeds
Grasses are commonly grown from seeds. It is the most simple and easy way to grow a new lawn. But there are many other ways of grass spreading than growing by seeds. These are:
Rhizomes are the underground stems that grow outward from the base of a plant. These stems spread vegetatively below the soil.
The new shoots produced are known as tillers and each tiller has the ability to produce seeds.
The other form of grass reproduction is through stolons which are lateral stems of grass that grow above the soil surface and at the base of the plant. The stolon production can contribute to thatching in your lawn.
Just a few varieties of lawn grass have the ability to spread by stolons and rhizomes.
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