How to Plant Ryegrass in Florida

Overview

Ryegrass is a popular winter grass for overseeding Florida lawns in the winter. Its shiny, dark green leaves keep the lawn green throughout the winter. Ryegrass is also used as a forage crop because it is fast growing and does well in the mild Florida winter weather. Because of its fast growth rate, weekly mowing may be required. Unmowed ryegrass grows to a height of 2 to 5 feet. The University of Florida IFAS Extension recommends planting ryegrass between October 1 and November 15, before cold weather arrives.

Step 1

Mow the existing grass very short. Rake the grass with a metal rake to remove grass clippings and debris. Dethatch the lawn, if thatch buildup exceeds 1/2 inch.

Step 2

Sow ryegrass seed at a rate of 10 lbs. of seed per 1,000 square feet. Use a mechanical spreader, working in one direction then spreading seed again perpendicular to the original pass. Rake lightly after spreading.

Step 3

Water the lawn lightly two or three times a day, keeping the soil moist, until the seeds sprout, then water once a day for the first two weeks. Gradually decrease the time between watering, giving 1 to 1 1/2 inches of water weekly.

Step 4

Mow the grass for the first time when it reaches 1 to 2 inches tall. Going forward, cut the grass back to 1 to 1 1/2 inches when it reaches 2 to 2 1/2 inches.

Step 5

Fertilize ryegrass after the second mowing. Apply a complete fertilizer such as 16-4-8 at a rate of 8 oz. of nitrogen per 1,000 square feet. Cast the fertilizer onto dry grass and water immediately.

Things You'll Need

  • Rake
  • Ryegrass seed
  • Mechanical spreader, optional
  • Fertilizer

References

  • University of Florida IFAS Extension: Annual Ryegrass
  • Clemson Cooperative Extension: Overseeding with Rye Grass
Keywords: plant Florida ryegrass, overseed Florida ryegrass, plant rye grass

About this Author

Diane Watkins has been writing since 1984, with experience in newspaper, newsletter and web content. She writes two electronic newsletters and content around the web. Watkins has a Bachelor of Science degree in chemistry from Clemson University. She has taken graduate courses in biochemistry and education.