Mixing Tall Fescue with Ryegrass

Discussion in 'Homeowner Assistance Forum' started by whitenack, Feb 28, 2007.

  1. whitenack

    whitenack LawnSite Member
    Messages: 78

    UK college of Agr. says not to mix tall fescue with ryegrass.

    My local feed & seed store recommended I mix them on a bare spot I want to establish.

    Who is right?

    What would happen if you did?
  2. MJS

    MJS LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,316

    Hi Whitenack,
    I assume that you are talking about mixing tall fescue with annual ryegrass. Annual Ryegrass is very quick growing, and is used more as a "quick cover grass" to help slower growing varieties become established. Annual Ryegrass will die off after the growing season, hence the name. I see no trouble mixing this grass with tall fescue, however, you may run into problems (esp. in KY) mixing tall fescue (recommended mowing height 3") with Perennial Rye (recommended mowing height 1 1/2"), as they will likely cancel eachother out, and only one variety will really be healthy and thick in the long run.
    Hope this helps.
  3. whitenack

    whitenack LawnSite Member
    Messages: 78

    Ah, I see.

    I bet that is right. I bet it is annual ryegrass and I didn't know there was a difference.

  4. DiyDave

    DiyDave LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,695

    Problem with ryegrass is that when it germinates in a mixture of over 10-15% ryegrass to other grasses, it produces a chemical which inhibits the germination of other grasses. Annual rye, that is. Leave it out of the mix.
  5. turf_toes

    turf_toes LawnSite Member
    Messages: 14

    The previous post is right on.

    There is research indicating that Ryegrass is allopathic in relation to other types of grass. In short, it emits a chemical that kills bluegrass and other types of seedlings.

    Also, because it tends to germinate faster, it will tend to dominate the resulting lawn -- even when the amount of rye grass is as little as 20 percent. (This applies to both annual AND perennial rye grass)

    Other studies have found that putting down 80 percent Kentucky Bluegrass seed and 20 percent Perennial Rye grass results in a lawn after one year of about 70 percent Rye.

    Despite cumulative seeding rates as high as 42 pounds of seed per 1,000 square feet over a 21/2-year period, no Kentucky bluegrass could be found in the intact areas of any of the plots. In fact, the only bluegrass to be found was in divoted areas that had been overseeded when the divots were still open. It was obvious that slit-seeding Kentucky bluegrass into healthy perennial ryegrass fairway turf, even with the use of a PGR to suppress ryegrass growth, was a totally ineffective method for introducing, much less converting, bluegrass into these fairways.

    It should be noted that we did see bluegrass seed germination in the fairways. Within a couple of weeks of seeding, bluegrass seeds were germinating in the seeder slits (approximately 1/4-inch depth). And some seedlings, although spindly and weak, did emerge from the slits. But the seedlings did not mature into healthy adult plants.

    Though discouraging, the results were not totally unexpected. Observations over the years by turf extension specialists, USGA agronomists, and many golf course superintendents have noted the general futility of overseeding bluegrass into established ryegrass turf.


    The url to the full article is here.

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