Plan the perfect garden with our interactive tool →

Rye Grass Identification

...
grass image by Brett Bouwer from Fotolia.com

Gardeners encounter two types of ryegrass--perennial ryegrass and annual ryegrass, a common turf grass in cold seasons. These grasses have different uses and look different, allowing gardeners to tell them apart. Identifying ryegrass can help gardeners and farmers select pasture grass or hay grass or provide turf grass with the right planting environment and level of care.

Types

Perennial ryegrass (Lolium perenne) gets used as food for sheep and cows and is a high-quality forage grass, notes the University of Wisconsin. Annual ryegrass (Lolium multiflorum), or Italian ryegrass, gets used as a cover crop and winter forage grass, and also in backyards. Both types of ryegrass are native to Europe.

Planting Environment

Ninety percent of the annual ryegrass in the United States grows in the South. Perennial ryegrass grows along the East and West Coasts of the United States.

  • Gardeners encounter two types of ryegrass--perennial ryegrass and annual ryegrass, a common turf grass in cold seasons.
  • Perennial ryegrass (Lolium perenne) gets used as food for sheep and cows and is a high-quality forage grass, notes the University of Wisconsin.

Color

Annual ryegrass turns a yellow or golden color when it dries, while perennial ryegrass turns a khaki hue. Both grasses are shiny and dark green when alive.

Size

The best way to tell the difference between perennial and annual ryegrass is through the width of their leaf blades. Perennial ryegrass has a narrow leaf blade of 2 mm, while annual ryegrass measures 5 to 6 mm wide. A ryegrass with a wider leaf blade of 10 mm, poison ryegrass, exists, but this is not planted for pasture.

Life Cycle

Annual ryegrass gets planted in the fall and dies in the spring, turning yellow when it does. It is frequently used as a groundcover in the Southern states, so there is something on the lawn when the warm season grass dies out. The shiny green blades have vertical ridges. Developing leaf blades are rolled in their buds and flatten out later, whereas perennial ryegrass has flat-developing leaf blades.

  • Annual ryegrass turns a yellow or golden color when it dries, while perennial ryegrass turns a khaki hue.

Related Articles

How to Identify Common Grass Types in the Northeast
How to Identify Common Grass Types in the Northeast
What Is Fescue?
What Is Fescue?
Types of Grass in Fresno
Types of Grass in Fresno
Italian Grass
Italian Grass
Types of Rye Grass
Types of Rye Grass
Ryegrass Characteristics
Ryegrass Characteristics
Zeon Zoysia Grass Care
Zeon Zoysia Grass Care
How to Remove Ryegrass From Bermuda
How to Remove Ryegrass From Bermuda
Types of Grass in the Northeast
Types of Grass in the Northeast
What Type of Lawn Grass Is Best for Sacramento & Northern California?
What Type of Lawn Grass Is Best for Sacramento & Northern...
How to Get Rid of Water Grass
How to Get Rid of Water Grass
What Are the Best Grass Seeds for Chesterfield County, VA?
What Are the Best Grass Seeds for Chesterfield County,...
Types of Grass Blades
Types of Grass Blades
Types of Grass Used on Golf Courses
Types of Grass Used on Golf Courses
Garden Guides
×