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Soil Conditions for Rye Grass

wasp on rye grass 1. image by mdb from

Ryegrass is a perennial or annual plant found in the wild, cultivated as an overseeded grass in turf, and as a foraging grass for animal consumption. Perennial and annual ryegrass is also called English Ryegrass. It is a cold season plant grown throughout the United States, Europe and New Zealand, according to Oregon State University.

Perennial Ryegrass

Perennial ryegrass grows best in well-draining soil. It is adapted to a wide array of soil conditions and will tolerate poorly draining soils as well. Perennial varieties can survive in both acidic and alkaline soils, growing within a pH range of 5.1 to 8.4, according to Oregon State University. It grows best between a pH of 5.5 and 7.5.

Annual Ryegrass

Annual ryegrass is also highly adaptable. It can grow in a wide array of soil types and will deal with heavy flooding. It grows best in a soil with a pH of 5.6 or higher, says the University of Florida Extension.


Annual ryegrass is best planted in the soil around October 1st to November 15th. Seed is planted at a depth of 1/2 inch or less. Perennial ryegrass is planted either in the spring or fall. Perennial ryegrasses become dormant during the summer months.

Seeding rate

Ryegrass seeding rates, says Penn State University, depends on what the ryegrass is used for once grown. Fifteen to 20 lbs. per acre is recommended for a bed that is prepared properly. When planted with legumes or other forage, 4 to 8 lbs. per acre is suitable. Clemson University recommends a seeding rate of 10 lbs. per 1,000 square feet when overseeding annual ryegrass, and 5 to 15 lbs. for perennial.

Seed Bed Preparation

The soil bed requires proper preparation before seeding. All weeds and debris require removal, either by hand or through the use of herbicides. Thatch requires removal when overseeding if it is greater than 1/2 inch. The soil requires tillage to prepare it for the seed.

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