Ryegrass is a cool weather annual that grows well from late autumn to early spring in Louisiana. According to Keith Collins of the Louisiana State University agricultural center, the peak growth for ryegrass, when planted in Louisiana, comes in the late winter. Heavy fall growth can be expected if the grass is planted in the early fall window between September 20 and October 15, especially for the northern half of the state. The ryegrass can be used as a cool weather seasonal grass and a garden cover crop.
Conduct a soil test of the area where the ryegrass will be planted. Take several soil samples from the ground in various locations. Combine the soil together. Allow the soil to dry thoroughly. Send the soil sample to your local agricultural extension service for analysis. Contact your local agricultural extension service agent for the process and pricing in your parish.
Apply the recommended amounts of fertilizer and agricultural lime to the soil, as dictated in the soil test analysis.
Work the materials into the soil by either rototilling the ground or raking the substances into the soil with the tines of the garden rake. The soil test results may have specific methods for incorporating the fertilizer and lime into the soil. Actual methods may depend on the size of the ryegrass planting area.
Broadcast the ryegrass seed on the soil at a rate of 30 lbs. per acre, or 3/4 lb. per 1,000 square feet. Cover the seed with minimal soil by raking the tines of the garden rake over the seeded area.
Water the seed into the soil using the garden hose and sprinkler attachment if a fall drought is occurring. Apply at least 1/2 inch of irrigated water to the area once a week for the first two weeks after planting. In most cases, there should be sufficient moisture from the annual fall rains in Louisiana. The seed should germinate in one to two weeks.
Things You Will Need
- Soil test
- Agricultural lime
- Rototiller or garden rake
- Ryegrass seed (30 lbs. per acre)
- Garden hose with sprinkler (optional)
- Planting ryegrass too early in Louisiana may cause the plants undue stress from insects and some late summer diseases. Army worms may especially cause problems on the newly planted grass until cool evenings begin to eradicate the grass-devouring worm.