How to Grow Virginia Wildrye


Virginia wildrye is a perennial, cool-season bunchgrass. This grass prefers part sun or light shade, and it likes moist soil conditions. Maximum height is between 2 and 3 feet. Virginia wildrye is light green in color and will grow in floodplain woodlands, bluffs, sandy savannas, rocky glades, moist prairies and river edges. Various insects feed on wildrye, including leafhoppers, beetles and caterpillars. Mallard ducks, which love the seedheads, also enjoy munching on wildrye. Palatable to large animals like horses and cows, Virginia wildrye is a hardy and vigorous grass.

Step 1

Establish Virginia wildrye from seed to ensure a healthy and vigorous plant. Found scattered on shaded banks, Virginia wildrye prefers heavier soil textures such as clay.

Step 2

Clear the area where you are planting the seeds of weeds and debris. Plant the seeds in early fall and in soil with adequate moisture levels. Seeds should be planted from 1/4 to 1/2 inch deep and up to 1 inch deep in sandy soil.

Step 3

Water the seeds thoroughly; they prefer soil with a high moisture content. Do not fertilize after you plant the seeds. Wait until they have become established, then fertilize according to your soil's needs.

Step 4

Don't graze the grass during the first year to allow the formation of a strong and sturdy root system. Once the wildrye has become established, graze on a rotational basis during the cool season.

Step 5

Virginia wildrye is prone to damage from white grubworms. To prevent this pest from damaging the wildrye, treat the area using phosphorus. Contained in many household detergents, phosphorous will not harm the landscape. Pour the phosphorous around the wild rye, and the grubs will rise to the surface, where birds will eat them. Treat the grubs during the active phase of late spring to early summer.

Things You'll Need

  • Soil
  • Water
  • Pesticide


  • Illinois Wildflowers
Keywords: growing Virginia wildrye, cultivating wildrye, soil conditions wildrye

About this Author

Callie Barber has been writing professionally since 2002. Barber's love for design and writing inspired her to create Design Your Revolution, a blog that shares creative and affordable ways to decorate indoor and outdoor living environments. Her articles have appeared on and Barber holds a Bachelors of Arts in international studies from the University of North Carolina.