Monday, August 2, 2021

Rye Grass?

Horticulture Hotline 08/02/2021

By Bill Lamson-Scribner


August is a month that the yard begins to transition out of the summer mode and moves into the fall / winter mode. Even though it is 135 degrees outside and 150 percent humidity, the air will cool, the kids will go back to school (hopefully), football and volleyball will start, the daylight hours will decrease, and deer season will begin with a bang. 


One big question to answer this time of year is do I want to grow ryegrass in my lawn, paint my lawn green, or let it go dormant?


While driving through neighborhoods, I see a lot of houses for sale. Ryegrass or green paint could separate your house from the multitude of other houses that are on the market.

For the very low cost of seed and fertilizer if you could sell your house one month earlier saving you a monthly payment, wouldn’t it be worth it? What about a year earlier? Whether you are selling your house or not, ryegrass always looks good in the winter.


Ryegrass gets a bad reputation because people misapply it. I often get asked, “doesn’t rye kill my centipede (St. Augustine, Zoysia)?” If you manage the rye correctly, you should have no problems. The ryegrass question is like buying a dog. If you base your decision on the few untrained pit bull stories and never purchased or adopted a dog of any type because of these stories, it would be too bad. I write this as my almost nineteen-year-old mixed dog, Ol’Boy, softly snores under my desk at my feet.


If you decide you want to put out ryegrass, now is the time to preemerge your grass for winter weeds (read and follow product label). Depending on what preemerge you use and the rate you apply it, you usually want to get it out 60 days before you overseed with ryegrass. By using a preemerge product in advance of spreading the ryegrass, you should help eliminate some of the competition from unwanted weeds.


If you are painting or not using rye, you have until mid August to apply your preemerge for winter weeds. Do not miss this first application of preemerge, or you might miss some of the nasty winter weeds that will compete with your turf grass next spring. Who wants to be “mowing weeds” late winter / early spring?


Grass eating worms (army worms, sod webworms, fall army worms), mosquitoes, fleas, rats, weeds, and pruning questions seem to top the question list at Possum’s.


Always read, understand and follow product label or hire a professional. The product label is a Federal Law.