Rye Grass Seed Types

There are two kinds of Rye Grass seed types – perennial and annual.

Both have received tremendous attention from turf breeders, resulting in a huge selection of enhanced varieties to choose from. For example, some perennial varieties include Affinity, Aquarius, Accent, Caddyshack, Commander, Fiesta, Goalkeeper, Manhattan II, Manhattan 4, Pennant, Pennfine, Regal, and Sunrise.

Despite all the new varieties, ALL Rye Grasses are meant for cool season climates. It germinates rapidly, making it useful to get a lawn off to a fast start. Germination is between 5 to 14 days with proper soil temperature and moisture.

I. Perrenial Rye Grass Seed Types (Lolium perenne)

Description

  • A bunching grass, light green in color. Newer enhanced varieties are darker green.
  • Its wide leaves make it appear coarse.
  • Resembles the annual kind but is winter hardy.

Advantages

  • Grows on a wide range of soils; likes full sun but tolerates light shade.
  • Sprouts quickly and controls erosion.
  • Withstands foot traffic well, which is why it is selected for playing fields.
  • More insect and disease resistant than some other lawn grasses.

Disadvantages

  • Not everyone likes the light color varieties.
  • Does not do well in shade, extreme cold or heat, and drought.

Care

  • Plant in either spring or late summer.
  • Fertilize 3 to 5 times per year until it is well established. Then fertilize it sparingly.
  • Mow at 3 inches.

II. Annual Rye Grass Seed Types (Lolium multiflorum)

Description

  • Tends to become clumpy with course, light green leaves. Newer enhanced varieties are darker green.

Advantages

  • Grows on a wide range of soils and tolerates either full sun or light shade.
  • Germinates quickly and used to establish temporary lawns. Added into grass mixtures until the other higher quality grasses germinate.
  • Vigorous and rugged enough to withstand moderate foot traffic.
  • Grows upright and holds its color well.
  • Is drought, disease, and insect resistant.
  • Inexpensive, as are most annual seeds.

Disadvantages

  • Needs frequent mowing.
  • Only lasts one season.

Care

  • Mow at 2 inches.
  • Fertilize 3 to 5 times per year.
  • Water in dry weather.

My recommendation is to get the benefit of two or more cool season grasses by buying a mixture. Perennial Rye Grass is commonly mixed with Kentucky Bluegrass to improve wear and tear, allowing growing in shade, and speeds up establishment. Avoid grass mixes with more than 20% annual ryegrass in the mix.

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