Information About Perennial Ryegrass

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Perennial Ryegrass Information: Learn About Perennial Ryegrass Uses And Care

By Amy Grant

Annual ryegrass is a valuable rapidly growing cover crop. It aids in breaking up hard soils, better allowing roots to absorb nitrogen. So what is perennial ryegrass used for? The information in this article will help answer that.

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When the use of common names causes confusion, it's helpful to turn to the scientific names of the plants for some clarity. Here are the botanical names for the three grasses in question (along with their most commonly-used common names):  

  • Lolium multiflorum (annual ryegrass)
  • Lolium perenne (perennial ryegrass)
  • Secale cereale (winter rye)

When speaking informally, however, people sometimes refer to all three as " winter rye." That's all the more reason to insist on the use of the botanical name when a positive ID is needed.

In addition to Lolium multiflorum, also in the annual camp is Secale cereale. So that's one important difference to observe between the three: Two have an annual life cycle, while one is a perennial.  

Another noteworthy difference is that winter rye (Secale cereale), unlike the other two, is a grain. Thus another common name for it: "cereal rye." So think of this one in the way that you would think of wheat or a similar grain, not a lawn grass. Another difference is that winter rye is a more robust plant than either annual ryegrass or perennial ryegrass.

Despite these differences, they all share one thing (besides having similar names): They're cool-season grasses.

The Power of Planting Annual Rye

Annual rye is simply an incredible workhorse in the garden.

For starters, it has an ultra-thick root system that grows deep into the soil below. Even into clay and heavily compacted soils. And as the roots grow, they break up that hard soil with ease.

But those roots do so much more than simply loosen tough soil. The root ends also contain tiny nodules that help to “fix” nitrogen levels in the soil. And when it comes to growing vegetables, nitrogen is a major player!

Annual rye (cereal rye) seed is a grain and is large seed. It sprouts quickly, usually within 7 days.

But the benefits don’t even stop there. As the cover crop dies back in the spring, all of the clippings, roots and stems break down into the soil. What is left behind are tiny channels in the soil now overflowing with rich humus.

And these channels are vital in allowing air, water and nutrients to find their way to your vegetable plants. All of which of course leads to healthier, stronger crops, year after year.

Getting Rid Of Weeds For Good – Planting Annual Rye

As if the above-mentioned benefits weren’t enough, annual rye is also a major player in reducing your garden’s weeds. And when we say major, we mean MAJOR!

Annual rye creates a thick barrier of living vegetation as it grows. One that snuffs out existing weeds, and keeps new weeds seeds from ever finding a home in bare soil.

And since you don’t need to till it under, those weeds never ever find a home to sprout next year. It is one of the major reasons we spend little time ever weeding our garden – and one we are quite thankful for! See : How To Create A No-Till Raised Row Garden

Here is a look at how and when we plant our annual rye cover crop in our garden:

The Never-Till Method Of Cover Cropping With Annual Rye

In mid to late fall, as our vegetable plants begin to fade, we clear our growing rows to plant our annual rye cover crop. All you will need is a simple tine rake, and of course, annual rye seed.

Our annual rye covering our growing rows heading into winter. Not only is it recharging our soil, it is also keeping weeds out entirely from the garden.

To begin, we rake each row to slightly scratch the soil surface. Next we spread seeds on the row as if we were planting grass seed. We then gently rake the soil to help set the seed a bit.

There is no need at this point to full cover the seed, just light rake over. Finally, we finish by covering with a light 1/2 covering of straw to keep the birds away – and our work is done!

We plant right through our annual rye crop in late spring as it dies off. There is never a need for a tiller, or waiting for the soil to dry out.

Within 7 days, the rye starts to poke its bright green blades through the surface. Within a few weeks, the raised growing rows are completely covered in a thick mass of bright green turf.

Winter Dormancy

As the cold sets in, the rye goes into a dormancy stage. Then, when spring returns, the rye does as well. As it grows in early March, we begin to mow it off every week or two.

The clippings are either mulched into the beds to add organic matter, or we bag them to put in our compost bin. After a few mowings, the rye begins to die off.

The garden in late spring with straw mulch on top of the annual rye that has been mowed off.

We then plant right through the surface. No tilling. No weeds to remove or worry about. And most important of all, the ground has been re-energized by the winter rye. It truly is the easiest gardening cycle you could ever ask for!

Making Sure You Are Planting The “Right” Annual Rye

Annual rye can go by many names, including winter rye and cereal rye. But it’s important to make sure you are buying the right seed when using as a no-till cover crop.

Annual rye is a cereal grain, not a grass. It is not to be confused with perennial or annual rye grass. The seed of annual rye is much larger than that of rye grass. You can usually find it at most feed or grain stores, on line, or at many local gardening centers. Product Link : Winter (Cereal) Rye

It’s important to make sure you are purchasing true annual rye (cereal rye) seed.

Here is to planting annual rye in your garden this year, and to a more productive garden next year! Happy Gardening – Jim and Mary.

Annual Ryegrass For Pasture & Farm Use

Annual ryegrass certainly must be considered a staple in the farming and ranching business. Ryegrass is used in so many useful ways to benefit pastures or farm lands -- providing quick growing short season forage, hay, green chop, green manures, erosion control, weed control, and so much more.

PASSEREL PLUS ANNUAL RYEGRASS FOR PASTURE - Highly rated Forage Ryegrass! Read about Passerel Plus Pasture Ryegrass along with Data Reports. Passerel Plus annual ryegrass is inexpensive, easily seeded, established and harvested, this grass is a number one seller worldwide.

Another popular annual ryegrass, Gulf Annual, is planted as 'row crops' in agricultural fields from berry fields to corn fields as well as orchards. Annual ryegrass is row cropped with all kinds of crops to keep down weeds and provide early coverage, shade for some crops, green fertilizer when mown and returned to the soil, wildlife crops, and when left to maturity it will partially reseed for the next season -- although not as dense as the first year of planting.

Do Not Plant Ryegrasses Developed For Lawn Use In Pastures!

Due to the potential for Ryegrasses in pastures to have the possibility of producing higher than desirable Endophyte production of toxins, you should only plant ryegrasses that have a known history of safe use for forages such as Passerel ryegrass seed or Gulf Annual ryegrass seed. Some of the newer improved perennial ryegrass varieties for lawns often contain Endophytes and are NOT suitable or recommended for pasture use. Plant only forage type ryegrass varieties for pastures.

Perennial Ryegrasses For Pastures

PERENNIAL RYEGRASS PASTURES are highly digestible and a favorite of all grazing animals. A valuable winter and spring grazing crop that can be overseeded onto additional forages or used alone lengthening the pasture season. A fast growing multi-use forage crop requiring minimal tillage and competitive enough to make a place for itself. A compact growing habit reinforces the ground and gives a perfect erosion base for pastures with heavy traffic or in the case of heavy rains or snow meltdown. Ryegrass helps keep the livestock out of the mud as much as possible.

Perennial ryegrass is fast germinating, grows prolifically, and can be grazed heavily. Many varieties have been developed and are in "prescription" mixes or in stand alone crops for complete pasture and hay production. The ryegrasses are well known for being companion grasses in mixes of fescue, clovers, timothy, orchard grass and many other pasture crops. The ryegrass is usually first to germinate and grow in while the others are developing. Perennial rye is used to overseed many warmer season pastures that may go dormant or are growing slower due to cooler temperatures. This is one of the most diversified grasses used in the forage industry for permanent and semi-permanent pastures.

How To Overseed With Ryegrass

OVERSEEDING - Since annual and perennial ryegrasses are used in overseeding many areas the best stands achieved are still the ones with a small amount of input. Rake or remove all debris (this helps scratch the soil for better soil contact), fertilize as suggested (slow release is actually the best and easiest), water lightly (if possible) before seeding evenly at the heaviest rate recommended, rake again if possible and lightly mist to keep seeds in place. Do not use excessive force as this will move seeds into uneven clumps. Watering helps increase germinating process.

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Overseeding in the fall for spring growth is not practiced in warm climates. Without snowfall to keep seed in place and protect it, you have less chance of success. If your lawn is patchy and you want warm-season grass to grow there, it is best to wait until spring. In the meantime, you can either live with the patchiness or grow a cool-season variety there. If the lawn is unhealthy, figure out what the problem is and correct it before putting down grass seed, otherwise it will likely just die again.

Watch the video: Step by Step Guide to OVERSEEDING Better looking lawn FAST

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