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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.