Tips on Planting Rye Grass

Ryegrass is a type of grass commonly grown in the southern half of the United States. There are dozens of varieties, but only two are grown in America: perennial ryegrass and Italian ryegrass. In addition to use in yards and home landscapes, it is also a popular choice for sports fields, especially in areas where it is overseeded with Bermuda grass, according to the Texas Cooperative Extension. Ryegrass can grow well in a variety of soils and at a wide range of pHs, according to the University of Florida IFAS Extension.


Plant ryegrass in the fall, preferably between late September and the end of October, according to All About Lawns. Ryegrass can also be used to overseed existing grass, and the timing is the same for these uses.


Use between 20 and 35 lbs. of seed per acre when seeding on a prepared seedbed free of other grasses, according to the University of Florida IFAS Extension. The seedshould not be planted at a depth greater than 1/2 inch. Seed can be spread by hand, but a hand caster or seed spreader can help ensure an even distribution of seed. It's best to plant seed on a moist soil bed, so water it before seeding if necessary. Spread ryegrass seed on a mild day that is not too windy. If winds are a concern, spread a thin layer of hummus, sawdust or peat moss over the seed to keep it in the soil, according to All About Lawns. If you live in a high-traffic area, you may want to consider using string, tape or fencing to keep people and animals off the lawn until the grass begins to grow in.

Care and Maintenance

Ryegrass seed needs to be properly maintained in the weeks after planting, so it will sprout and develop into a lush, green lawn. The seed bed should be watered immediately after planting and should be kept moist for the next 10 to 14 days, according to the Texas Cooperative Extension. After two weeks, you can reduce the frequency of waterings. You can fertilize ryegrass seed about three weeks after planting to help promote and encourage growth. Apply half a pound of nitrogen fertilizer for every 1,000 square feet of lawn space. You can repeat applications every three weeks until the ryegrass has finished growing.

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About this Author

Meghan McMahon lives in the Chicago suburbs, where she spent six years as a newspaper journalist before becoming a part-time freelance writer and editor and full-time mother. She received a bachelor's degree in journalism from Eastern Illinois University in 2000 and has written for "The Daily Southtown" and "The Naperville Sun" in suburban Chicago.