Rye grass growing faster than the TTF

Discussion in 'Turf Renovation' started by swentpc, May 10, 2012.

  1. swentpc

    swentpc LawnSite Member
    Messages: 5

    This is my first post on this forum but I used the site’s archives extensively last summer in advance of my 6000 sf lawn renovation. The information found here was priceless as I had never done anything remotely close to this!

    I’m in central Ohio. The seed I used was the Lesco Teammates. This is the regular Teammates without the bluegrass. The mix is 80% TTF and 20% Perennil Rye, as follows:

    29.43 Magellan Tall Fescue
    25.07 Catalyst Tall Fescue
    24.45 Padre Tall Fescue
    19.53 Patriot 4 Perennial Ryegrass

    I slit seeded in early Sept. last year. The seed germinated quickly and nicely. The problem is that the rye grass is growing much faster than the fescue. If I wait for the fesue to become 4” before mowing, then the rye grass is at least 7” tall. The fescue is a nice dark green and the rye is a light green. I’m not happy with the look. At this point this lawn would only look good to me if I mowed it every 2 days, which is not exactly what I had in mind! I know 2 other people who used the same mix at the same time I did. Both are having the same problem.

    Attached is a photo that shows the look as best as I could capture it. The whole lawn looks like this.

    Will this problem resolve itself? Is there something that I need to do? My mind is working overtime on this and I don’t have any experience to draw on. Has anyone here ever experienced this issue? Help please!

  2. RigglePLC

    RigglePLC LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 13,808

    I would not be satisfied with that seeding result. Perhaps the TTTF are dwarf varieties and the rye is not. Did it look OK in the fall last year? Maybe this will only happen in the spring. Maybe when the heat builds up the rye will have less roots and slow down. Maybe the fescue will grow more roots and start to do better.
    don't know.
  3. swentpc

    swentpc LawnSite Member
    Messages: 5

    The rye grass may have been growing a little faster than the TTF last fall but it wasn't this pronounced. It was difficult to tell because the lawn hadn't filled out yet.

    Thanks for your response.
  4. ReddensLawnCare

    ReddensLawnCare LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,651

    Is it the broadleaf blade I see there? If that is the case I do not believe that is the rye. Perenial rye is darker green and grows close to what you have there. Did you apply straw after the renovation? It could also be a type of annual grass in the poa family. Not poa annua. I'll try to find the name I'm thinking of
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  5. ReddensLawnCare

    ReddensLawnCare LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,651

    If it is rye or a winter annual grass it will die out with the heat
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  6. swentpc

    swentpc LawnSite Member
    Messages: 5


    I have a corner lot. The photo shows the front yard, which has little hills and swales in it that I did not level out. These prevented the slit seeder from digging the seed into the ground in some cases, So some of the seed there was basically bradcast onto the ground. When that happened, yes I did use straw - about 60% of the front yard was strawed.

    The side yard is level. All seed was buried. No straw used there at all but I have the same results of Rye grass higher than fescue.

    During my first couple of mowings this year, I could tell that some of the tall stuff in the front yard was from the straw, but was advised that this would die out after a few mowings.

  7. agrostis

    agrostis LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,545

    You know they put the rye in that blend for quick green-up. Lesco know's that most people don't want to wait for fescue to germinate. I have two area's that have fescue and rye together. I wish there wasn't any ryegrass there. By the end of Aug. the rye is as thin as can be, but right now it is thick and healthy. And growing faster than the fescue. I think that is just the nature of rye. It will slow down come summer but start outgrowing the fescue in the fall and then again next spring. It doesn't get hot enough in your part of the world to kill the rye, it just go's dormant. Have you pushed that grass with fertilizer ? Do you have irrigation ? Your choice's now are limited, you might want to consider spraying that out and trying again without ryegrass. It's not that hard to do. I just mowed my Rebel 4 TTTF yard today after a week and it grew about a inch in that time, and will slow down even more in the summer. Good luck.
  8. swentpc

    swentpc LawnSite Member
    Messages: 5


    I used a starter fertilizer in early Sept when I seeded and then a winterizer fertilizer in November. Was planning on staying on the twice a year, Sept and Nov, plan. I do not have irrigation but it has been crazy wet around here since right after I seeded in Sept to the present.

    Thanks for sharing your experience with the different growth rates. I have talked to a person who told me that the Rye grass would slow down and the fescue would speed up during the heat of summer. Hopefully that happens. But still, I'm not sure I would want to deal with this current look during Spring and Autumn if that is to be the case.
  9. swentpc

    swentpc LawnSite Member
    Messages: 5

    As the original poster, I thought it would be appropriate to update this thread.

    One thing that wasn't mentioned in the original post was that I had already discussed this with the man who manages my local Lesco/John Deere Landscapes. I didn't mention this because I didn't want to influence the comments on this thread that would follow.
    He had told me that it was common for the rye grass to outgrow the TTTF early in the season as Rye was more of a cool season grass and fescue was a warmer season grass, and that the rye would slow down and the fescue would speed up as summer came.

    I knew that they were both cool season grasses but I think he was just 'dumbing down' the answer for me. I didn't take offense because I definitely am an amateur.

    He was right. About mid to late June the two grasses were both growing at about the same rate.

    The Spring was really wet. Then we had a very hot and humid Summer, but with very little rainfall. Around the 4th of July small, round brown patches were forming on parts of the lawn. The more I watered these, the worse they became. It turned out that this was brown patch fungus. I tried to control this with 3 applications of a Scotts fungus control product, but it didn't seem to do much good.

    Most of the fescue lawns and some of the bluegrass lawns in the neighborhood had some type of fungus. Most of my brown patches turned back to green in Sept. I did do some minor patching of the brown areas with the fescue brown patch blend from seedsuperstore. This is a blend of the 3 most resistant fescues to fungus. However, this grass came up lighter in color than the Teammates

    Two other people I know seeded their lawns at the same time last year with the same Lesco Teammates seed. We all had similar problems: rye grass growing faster than fescue (early in the season), brown patch, and early infiltration of some crab grass and poa annua. Next time I would do a pre-emergent herbicide in the early Spring.

    All 3 of the fescues found in the Teammates mix were reviewed on the ntep website. None of them were great and none were terrible. It seems to be 'middle of the road' seed. It does have a nice deep greeen color. I don't hate it anymore! But I don't love it either. Seems I will be married to pre-emergent herbicides in the Spring because the grass is not aggressive vs Poa. Probably be married to fungus control during hot Summers too.
  10. agrostis

    agrostis LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,545

    I don't think there is much difference between first and last place in most of the grass's in the NTEP, there are a few exception's, but for the most part they are all pretty much "middle of the road"

    I hate the fact that a homeowner feel's like that they will have to use fungicide's on a fescue lawn to get through the summer. Better agronomic practices might make a difference, i don't really know. I can see using pre-emergent herbicide's though, even under ideal growing condition's tall fecue just isn't strong enough to suppress poa.

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