How to Seed a Ryegrass Lawn


Rye grass is a cool season turf grass prized for its bright green color and fine soft blade texture. It is best sown from seed in the early fall after the heat of summer has passed. Rye grass readily germinates and can be sown over raw soil, bare patches or over-seeded with a warm season grass to create a year-round green lawn. Cast the seed by hand or use a walk behind drop spreader and water daily through germination.

Step 1

Prepare a loose soil bed of nutrient-rich soil by tilling up at least 10 inches of soil and amending with several pounds of compost and or well-aged livestock manure for every 100 square feet. The richer the planting soil the better.

Step 2

Put down an even layer of granular lawn starter fertilizer over the prepared soil and settle the fertilizer into the top half-inch of soil with a rake.

Step 3

Sow the rye grass seed by hand casting or by using a mechanical spreader. Apply the grass at a rate of 4 to 5 pounds of rye grass seed over each 1,000 square feet of soil acreage. Nestle the seed into the soil lightly with the back of the rake. Do not bury the seed entirely as sunlight will speed germination.

Step 4

Water the rye grass seed slowly and deeply until the soil and seed are saturated. Use a hose sprayer attachment set on the mist or light-rain setting so as not to disturb or displace the soil and fertilizer. Water daily or twice daily as needed to keep the soil evenly moist through germination. When green shoots appear, begin watering every other day to two days for a few weeks then tapering down slowly to once a week deep watering over a period of two months.

Things You'll Need

  • Grass seed
  • Compost and/or aged manure
  • Shovel
  • Rake
  • Lawn starter fertilizer
  • Drop spreader
  • Water
  • Hose with adjustable spray nozzle


  • This Old House, How to Seed A Lawn
  • All About Lawns, Pleasures of Rye Grass
  • Fort Valley State University, Rye Grass Planting
Keywords: rye grass, cool season turf, sow grass

About this Author

An omni-curious communications professional, Dena Kane has more than 17 years of experience writing and editing content for online publications, corporate communications, business clients, industry journals, as well as film and broadcast media. Kane studied political science at the University of California, San Diego.