Louisiana's extremely tropical climate, owing to its proximity to the Gulf Coast, falls within zones 9 and 8 of the USDA temperate zones. In winter, temperatures in the state rarely fall below 10 degrees F. According to Louisiana State University, ryegrass is widely used across the state as an annual cool-season forage grass. For homeowners, ryegrass can be seeded each fall to help keep lawns green all winter long.
Mow your lawn grass to a height of 1 inch. Light cannot penetrate deeper than this to reach the soil and germinate the grass seeds.
Rent a dethatcher, core aerator and a slit seeder from a garden center. You will need all three machines to prepare your soil for growing grass seed. They operate similarly to a lawnmower in that they start with a pull of a rope and are pushed in front of you.
Set the dethatcher blades to cut all thatch in your lawn to no more than 1 inch deep. Thatch is a buildup of grass stems, debris and dead grass clippings that build up below your lawn. If the thatch is very thick, it will prevent water, air and seeds from reaching the dirt below your lawn.
Push your dethatching machine over the lawn in sections. Rake up the cut thatch and discard.
Set the core aerator to remove plugs of soil from your lawn. The exact depth of the plugs removed from your lawn will depend on the soil type, diameter of the aerator tines, and the power and weight of the core aerator.
Pass the core aerator over your lawn four times. Shift the aerator 90 degrees each pass over the lawn. When finished, you should have between 40 and 60 holes in your soil per square foot of lawn.
Set your slit seeder to gouge slits through your turf and into the soil to a depth of ¼ inch. Ryegrass seed will not reach the soil to germinate on its own. The slit seeder and core aerator will help the seeds to reach the soil layer, where they will receive proper moisture and oxygen. Pass the slit seeder over your lawn twice. Shift your walking pattern by 90 degrees with each pass.
Fill a broadcast spreader with ryegrass seed. Push the broadcast spreader over your lawn in sections to spread the seed. When you have finished making one pass, walk over the lawn in sections again. Shift your walking pattern by 90 degrees from your first pattern.
Water your lawn up to four times daily using ¼ inch of water each time. Use a rain gauge to determine the amount of water you have used. Reduce watering to 1 inch a week once the seedlings reach 1 inch in height. Continue to mow your lawn weekly. Raise the mower decking to 2 inches once the seedlings reach 1 inch in height.