Tuesday, April 5, 2011
Ryegrass is an important component lawn grass in the both the cool and warm season areas of the United States and around the world. Introduced to America from Europe; Perennial Ryegrass lasts year after year and Annual Ryegrass only survives for one season. Let’s explore their characteristics.
Annual Ryegrass is a staple in the farming and ranching business, frequently used in pastures for grazing. It also is utilized for erosion control and for establishing new lawn areas because of its quick ability to germinate, sometimes in 5-7 days if conditions are right. While Annual Ryegrass has certain qualities, it is not recommended for use for a long-term, quality lawn since it dies off.
Perennial Ryegrass can be seeded on its own or in when an established lawn has been over-seeded. Perennial Ryegrass is frequently used in combination with other lawn grasses such as Kentucky bluegrass and fescues to produce beautiful turf like in our Jonathan Green Show Lawn Mixture. Golf courses, park, ball fields, roadsides and home lawns usually contain some perennial ryegrass. Its bright green color and quick establishment makes it a favorite for homeowners. The fibrous root system and its ability to germinate quickly make perennial ryegrass an ideal choice for long-term erosion controls. It produces a dense-green turf and the newer, improved varieties are finer-textured producing much more attractive lawn grass than the older pasture-type varieties.
Perennial Ryegrass has good wear tolerance and is used to re-seed ball fields and areas that need to fill in quickly like with our Jonathan Green Touch-Up Mixture. This cool-season grass has a wide range of adaptation to different soil types and climates. It generally grows best in a well-drained soil, with and pH range of 5.8 to 7.0 and areas with average precipitation. Perennial Ryegrass should be seeded between 2 and 10 pounds per 1,000 square feet whether starting a new lawn or seeding a steep slope area. Fertilizing for best growth would require 2-4 pounds of nitrogen per year applied over 3-4 applications from spring through late fall. With its upright growth pattern, perennial ryegrass mows cleanly provided your blade is sharp for a neat, new lawn look.
The first improved turf-quality perennial ryegrass was ‘Manhattan’ Perennial Ryegrass introduced in the 1960’s. There have been many improvements bred into the hundreds of perennial ryegrass varieties over the last 40 years including, increased turf density, improved color, better disease resistance and the introduction of the beneficial fungi, endophyte.
Perennial Ryegrass varieties like Jonathan Green Black Beauty that are bred with endophytes have advantages over varieties that do not contain endophytes. Endophytes produce toxins, which certain lawn insects do not like. If the plant can deter insects it has a better chance of surviving when under stressful conditions. Grubs also like to chew on perennial ryegrass roots and yet endophytic varieties of perennial ryegrass do not tend to be as effective in deterring grub feeding and damage.Back