How to Over-seed Annual Rye Grass


Over-seeding your lawn with annual rye grass will provide a warm green glow when other perennial grasses may die back during winter. Adding just enough annual rye grass seed to an established lawn in late September will aid in providing organic material as well. For the seed to properly germinate, you may have to thatch the lawn to remove any dead grass. The dead grass can inhibit the rye grass seed from germinating.

Step 1

Use a thatching blade on your lawn mower. Remove all the dead grass that is lying on the soil. Removal of this material will not only aid the existing lawn, but will help to quickly germinate the annual rye grass seed.

Step 2

Broadcast the rye grass seed at a rate of 10 pounds per 1,000 square feet. Generally no additional water is required because in late September, most fall rain cycles begin. If no rain is predicted, gently water the new seed twice a day at an application of 1 inch to 2 inches per week.

Step 3

Cut the new rye grass after it has achieved a height of 1 inches to 2 inches. Keep the lawn between 1 inch and 1½ inches in height throughout the cool season.

Step 4

Apply a lawn fertilizer, 10-10-10, after the first mowing. Use approximately one-half pound per 1000 square feet of lawn. Make a second application of fertilizer using the same rate in late winter or early spring.

Step 5

Cease fertilizing the rye grass in early spring to kill off the annual grass at a faster rate. Set the mower to a lower setting to discourage growth to the annual rye grass and encourage growth from the perennial grass lawn.

Things You'll Need

  • Lawn thatch attachment for lawn mower
  • Rye grass seed, 10 pounds per 1000 square feet
  • Lawn mower
  • Half-pound lawn fertilizer, 10-10-10 per 100 square feet


  • University of Kentucky: Annual Ryegrass
  • Clemson University: Over-Seeding with Ryegrass
Keywords: winter lawns, rye grass, over seeding

About this Author

G. K. Bayne is a freelance writer, currently writing for Demand Studios where her expertise in back-to-basics, computers and electrical equipment are the basis of her body of work. Bayne began her writing career in 1975 and has written for Demand since 2007.