What is Perennial Ryegrass? Discover The Facts

Team McFly Oct 30, 2023
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Table of Contents
  1. "The Ultimate Guide to Perennial Ryegrass: Discover the Truth"
    1. Mistakes People Make With Ryegrass
    2. Diseases That Can Affect Ryegrass
    3. Need for Constant Care
    4. Need for pre-emergent herbicides
    5. Conclusion:
    6. Recent Featured Posts:

Disclosure: Some of the links in this article may be affiliate links, which can provide compensation to me at no cost to you if you decide to purchase. As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases. 

"The Ultimate Guide to Perennial Ryegrass: Discover the Truth"

Perennial Ryegrass, or Lolium perenne, is a grass in the Poaceae family native to northern Africa, Asia, and Europe. It is widely cultivated around the world. This article will discuss some common mistakes people make when growing ryegrass, how to prevent disease, and when to apply pre-emergent herbicides.

Mistakes People Make With Ryegrass

Perennial ryegrass is one of the most widely used grasses in the United States and is known for its rapid germination and establishment. This grass is a great choice for people who want to grow a lush lawn that retains color well into winter. But it does require some maintenance. A regular mowing schedule and consistent fertilization are required for this grass to thrive.

Most people use annual ryegrass as a turf cover, but this type of grass usually dies when temperatures fall below 80oF. It is sometimes included in inexpensive commercial seed mixes, but this is rarely recommended. It is also not a good choice for lawns with tall fescue since it must be reseeded every fall.

Perennial Ryegrass

Diseases That Can Affect Ryegrass

Perennial ryegrass is commonly used for hay and forage in pastures. However, some diseases affect the grass, including mycotoxins that can harm livestock. These mycotoxins are produced by a fungus called an endophyte that lives in the plant's lower leaf sheaths. They affect Purkinje cells and disrupt inhibitory pathways in the nervous system.

The most damaging disease for perennial ryegrass is ergot. Its effects on seed production have been minimized with fungicides used in the seeds. However, fungicide applications during the anthesis phase of the plant do not sufficiently control ergot.

In eastern Oregon, ergot was found in three out of three perennial ryegrass fields in 2012 and 2013, indicating that more effective integrated disease management strategies are needed.

Another problem is rust, which affects many types of grass.

It is spread by spores blown to the plant or other alternate hosts. The rust fungus produces large quantities of spores during leaf spots. These spores are used to spread the disease and initiate new infections. Rust is most prevalent during cool, humid weather in autumn.

Different varieties are susceptible to this disease, so be sure to monitor your perennial ryegrass if you notice any symptoms.

Perennial ryegrass is suitable for high-fertile soils but can also be planted in lower-fertile areas. Different types of ryegrass have different nutritional requirements. Therefore, it is important to choose the right varieties based on maturity, endophyte content, and other traits. To ensure a healthy and productive perennial ryegrass crop, consider sowing the seeds in late summer/early autumn.

The first outbreak of Gray Leaf Spot disease in the United Kingdom is predicted to hit UK perennial ryegrass in August 2020. The fungus Pyricularia grisea, also known as P. oryzae, produces distinctively shaped spores. Leaf spot is a serious disease that can severely harm the plant.

This fungus can attack all varieties of perennial ryegrass. Infected plants may show signs of blight on multiple consecutive days. However, you can control it by following proper irrigation and fertilization practices. Infected plants can also be treated with fungicides or resistant varieties.

Need for Constant Care

Perennial ryegrass is a quick-establishing grass with a broad range of agronomic and environmental benefits. It is ideal for use as a forage crop and provides soil stabilization. It can be grown in diploid or tetraploid varieties. To select the right variety, customers should double-check its intended use.


The best time to plant perennial ryegrass is in the fall and early spring when soil temperatures are at their lowest. This grass needs regular watering, as it does not tolerate hot weather. Watering should be done to a depth of six to twelve inches. The amount of water that is needed will depend on the type of soil that you have. Soils that are heavy clay or sandy require more frequent watering.

Perennial ryegrass can grow up to 2 feet tall. During the spring and fall, it undergoes its fastest growth. In the summer, it requires constant care, so it is best to mow it often. The tall blades of grass help shade the soil and maintain a moist environment.

Perennial ryegrass normally dies out by late spring, but it can persist into the fall and winter. Therefore, keeping the lawn free of winter debris is important to avoid stressing the ryegrass. Moreover, it is important not to over-water the permanent grass, as this will cause stress on the plants.

Perennial ryegrass is usually mixed with fine fescue or Kentucky bluegrass, but it can also be grown as a monostand. In some climates, it can be planted with sod, but it is more economical to sow perennial ryegrass seed than to use sod.

Perennial ryegrass requires light watering daily, with the top half an inch of soil remaining moist.

Perennial ryegrass can adapt to many soil types. However, it does best in soils with a neutral pH and a moderate temperature.

It also thrives in a coastal climate. In addition, it tolerates a moderate amount of shade during the early stages of growth. However, it will thin out and look drab if left in the shade for more than one year.

Need for pre-emergent herbicides

Before applying a pre-emergent herbicide to your lawn, be sure to understand the difference between pre-emergent and post-emergent. A pre-emergent does not prevent the seeds from germinating but attacks them at the germination stage.

It does this by blocking a specific protein required for the growth of plants. While pre-emergents are typically effective against a broad range of weeds, it is important to check the label to ensure the product is suitable for your lawn.

A pre-emergent should be applied in the spring before the ground temperature reaches 55 degrees Fahrenheit. A pre-emergent should be watered within 3 days after application. To ensure the product is absorbed by the lawn, light rainfall is recommended.

Pre-emergent herbicides for perennials are most effective when applied early. The ideal time to apply is when soil temperatures are between 55 degrees and 70 degrees. Various organic products are available for pre-emergent herbicides for perennial ryegrass lawns.

You can also use horticultural vinegar or a weed torch to control weeds without using toxic chemicals. Hand-pulling is also an effective natural way to control weeds on your lawn.

Pre-emergent herbicides work by creating a vapor barrier on the soil's surface. This barrier inhibits weed and grass seedlings from germinating. Pre-emergent herbicides should be applied before the grass reaches 6 inches in height. However, these herbicides do degrade over time and require reapplying in the spring.

While annual ryegrass is easier to control with a pre-emergent herbicide, it is difficult to eradicate the perennial variety. The best way to combat the problem is to prevent perennial ryegrass from forming in the first place. Fortunately, pre-emergent herbicides are safe for this type of grass and are effective for both annual and perennial weeds.

It is important to choose the right herbicide program for the situation. The right herbicide program will reduce in-season competition with wheat and minimize the seed production of the weed.


Perennial ryegrass is a versatile and hardy grass that can be used for a variety of purposes. It is an excellent choice for both home and commercial landscaping, as well as forage for livestock. Perennial ryegrass is easy to grow and maintain, making it a popular choice among gardeners and farmers alike. If you are looking for reliable and low-maintenance grass to add to your lawn or pasture, consider perennial ryegrass.

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Table of Contents
  1. "The Ultimate Guide to Perennial Ryegrass: Discover the Truth"
    1. Mistakes People Make With Ryegrass
    2. Diseases That Can Affect Ryegrass
    3. Need for Constant Care
    4. Need for pre-emergent herbicides
    5. Conclusion:
    6. Recent Featured Posts:

Disclosure:  Some of the links in this article may be affiliate links, which can provide compensation to me at no cost to you if you decide to purchase. As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases.