Landscaping in America

Transitional grasses for homeowners living across a narrow middle zone of America

Description of common Annual Ryegrass type turfgrasses.

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Annual Ryegrass Photo

Annual Ryegrass

(also called Italian ryegrass)

Annual ryegrass is not to be confused with perennial ryegrass, has lost some of its importance in recent years because it produces a coarser, more open turf than many newer turf-type perennial ryegrasses, and it is extremely susceptible to Pythium diseases. It also has lighter color than most perennial ryegrasses.

Annual ryegrass also has poor heat and cold tolerance. Like annual bluegrass, annual ryegrass quickly dies when a few warm days occur in early spring. This may result in thin spots where the permanent grass has not yet fully greened up.

However, annual ryegrass germinates quickly and is acceptable on fairways and general-use areas where color and appearance are not of greatest concern or when the budget is tight. Few improved turf-type cultivars of annual ryegrass are available. One that is available is Barverdi, while current forage-type cultivars include Astor, Gulf, Magnolia and Wimmera.

Annual ryegrass features

Often found in low priced grass seed. Annual ryegrass does not over-winter in cold climates. Germinates quickly and can be used as a temporary ground cover while the slower growing bluegrass plants take hold. Used mostly as a forage plant for animals. DO NOT PLANT GRASSES INTENDED FOR HOME USE IN PASTURE AREAS. Certain toxins may increase in lawn grasses that may be harmful to grazing animals. Check with manufacturer on suitability.

Worldwide there are about a dozen species of ryegrass, including both annual and perennial plants. In the United States, only two species are used as turfgrasses: Italian ryegrass and perennial ryegrass. The species is native to Europe and Asia and was introduced into the United States at an early date.

Ryegrasses are widely distributed throughout the United States. In the South, annual ryegrass appears each fall from natural reseeding. In the transition zone, perennial ryegrass is used in mixtures with bluegrass for sports fields. Ryegrasses are widely used as a temporary turfgrass throughout the southern region for overseeding dormant warm season grasses for the cold season

On bermudagrass lawns where color is more important than density, ryegrass may be seeded at 5 7 pounds per 1,000 sq. ft. In these overseeding situations, ryegrass seed are broadcast over the surface of a closely mowed bermudagrass turf.

Seeding dates are very important when overseeding a bermudagrass turf. If overseeding is done too early, bermudagrass competes with the ryegrass seedlings and establishment may be poor. If overseeding is delayed, then cold temperatures may delay germination.

The recommended seeding date is 2 4 weeks before the average first frost date.