Annual Ryegrass Seeds

Overview

Ryegrass is available in one of two forms: annual or perennial. Annual ryegrass, also called "Italian" or "English" ryegrass, originates from Europe and is adapted to a variety of weather conditions. Annual ryegrass is used as a cover crop to prevent soil erosion, overseeding of lawns and as a foraging crop. Planting annual grass seed has little requirement.

Environment

Annual ryegrass requires long seasons of cool and moist weather. The annual grass seed will germinate in cool soils that other cover crops will not, says Oregon State University. Annual ryegrass prefers areas that have a minimum temperature of above 10 degrees Fahrenheit.

Soil

Annual ryegrass prefers a well-drained soil with a pH level of between 5 to 8, ideally being between 6.0 and 7.0. It grows best in an area that has full sun, but it is also shade tolerant.

Germination

Annual ryegrass seeds are seeded into warm season grass in the fall, says the University of Maryland. Ryegrass then germinates during the winter months. Seeds begin grass growth once the weather changes in the spring. Winter ryegrass peaks in growth between the mid-winter and into the spring when used as a winter forage.

Seeding

Seeding rate depends on what the annual ryegrass is used for. Ryegrass, in all situations, requires a high seeding rate. Seed rate ranges between 9 to 40 pounds of ryegrass seed per acre. Seeding is done between mid-September and mid-October. Seed drilling to a depth of 1/2 to 3/4 of an inch deep ensures the best establishment.

Cultivation Practices

Annual ryegrass is best rotated with another cover crop or forage on an annual basis. When used as a cover crop, it is best grown in mixtures of legumes. Ryegrass suppresses weeds, protects the soil from erosion and becomes a part of the soil composition once it deteriorates. Annual ryegrass will reseed itself when mowed. To kill off ryegrass and start a new crop, herbicides are often required.

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About this Author

Cleveland Van Cecil is a freelancer writer specializing in technology. He has been a freelance writer for three years and has published extensively on eHow.com, writing articles on subjects as diverse as boat motors and hydroponic gardening. Van Cecil has a Bachelor of Arts in liberal arts from Baldwin-Wallace College.