Planting a Rye Grass Lawn

ryePlanting a rye grass lawn is similar to planting lawns of any other grass type.  Prepping the lawn area properly will result in a lawn that is quicker to fill in and healthier in the long run.  How do you know if planting a rye grass lawn is right for you?  How do you determine that rye grass will grow best in the growing conditions of your lawn area?  Here are the vital stats about Perennial Rye Grass: Hardiness zone: 3-9 Optimum pH: 5.8-7.2 Days to germination: 5-10 Mowing height: 3-4 inches Water requirements: average Growth spread: via clumps Nitrogen requirement: 2-3 pounds per 1000 sq. ft. Shade tolerance: low Disease resistance: high Insect resistance: high Heat tolerance: medium Cold tolerance: medium As you can see from reading the above characteristics, rye grass is a good type of grass for most sunny locations in the central United States.  Be careful not to confuse perennial rye grass with annual rye grass.  Annual rye grass is often used to overseed warm season grass lawns in the south during the winter.  Perennial rye grass seed is good to add to lawn grass seed mixtures in the north and north-central areas of the US.

Seeding a New Rye Grass Lawn

Rye grass grows well and fast from seed.  It is not as aggressive as some other types of turf because it spreads by growing larger clumps, rather than sending out rhizomes or stolons.  Therefore, the seeding rate is higher than for some other grasses.  If you plant a rye lawn from seed, you will need to sow about 8-10 pounds of seed per 1,000 square feet, which is on the high end.  Fescues sometimes have a higher seed rate.  One good attribute of perennila ryegrass is that it germinates quickly and establishes a deep root system, so it is excellent to plant in areas where erosion is a concern.  It will sprout and maintain a steep incline very quickly. Establishing a new lawn requires good technique druing three different phases:  preparation, planting and care after planting.  Make sure you follow these tips during this critical time of lawn establishment. Prepping Don't skimp on the prep work for your new lawn!  If you do, you will pay for it time and time again.  Always add as much good quality soil or soil/compost mix to the area where you are going to plant the new lawn.  Have the soil tested and correct any nutrient deficiencies or pH issues before planting.  (At this stage, you cannot use synthetic fertilizer, as it can inhibit root growth.  If you need to add nitrogen, use a feedmeal.)  Rake the soil so that it is even, and soak it thoroughly a day or two before planting. Planting Put about 1/3 of the grass seed you will use into your spreader.  Spread that load of seed.  Repeat twice, for the entire lawn area, walking in a different direction.  (This is similar to varying your mowing pattern.)  This will allow for even coverage.  When you have put down all of the seed, roll the seed lightly with a drum roller filled about halfway with water.  This will ensure that the grass seed is in good contact with the soil. Care after Planting Cover the rye grass seed with a VERY thin (1/4 an inch or less) layer of compost, and water the lawn about twice a day for about ten minutes.  Use a sprinkler, not an unbroken hose stream, which will wash away the grass.  Until the grass seed is fully growing, continue to water at least once a day, gradually tapering off.  You will be able to mow after about 6-8 weeks.  Set your mower blade as high as it will go, and mow once or twice a week.  Evaluate the new planting about four months after you have installed the lawn.  Overseed any areas that are thin. Planting a rye grass lawn makes sense for most homeowners in its favored location.  It is a hardy, disease resistant, low maintenance turf.
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