Winter grass down south?

Discussion in 'Turf Renovation' started by RonB, Jan 29, 2007.

  1. RonB

    RonB LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 427

    Does anyone have either centipede or St. Augustine lawns ( personal or customers ) and for the winter months seed it with something like rye grass for a year around green lawn?

    I've noticed a few around here that have done this lately and was wondering what is the procedure? In detail.

    And when the temps warm up does the winter grass just kinda die off and the warm season grass take over .. then seed in the fall again?

  2. Rons Rightway Lawncare

    Rons Rightway Lawncare LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,164

    My yard is mostly bermuda, fescue and weeds. Looks great in the summer if we get rain on a regular basis...

    In the fall I aerate and reseed with cheap ole Winter Rye - 25$ per 50 lbs bag - and it comes up nice and green and pretty, and stays that way till early summer when it dies from the heat and the other grass takes back over.

    It is a pain to cut though, holds so much moisture that the mower can't cut for long before throwing out a clump and it is generally messy to cut. In the spring it can be quite the chore to keep it cut - almost have to cut it every other day
  3. Tadams

    Tadams LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 787

    I overseed several Bermuda lawns with rye grass. Not alot of people with Zoysia want it done. I don't know if it is because the Zoysia is so thick that the rye wont grow in it or what. The only thing that I do is broadcast the seed out maybe put down a starter fertilizer has been overseeded with rye. In N. GA, the centipede goes dormant first and the last one to green up. Most people that have it like the fact that it is a slow growing and low maintenance grass. They don't want to do anymore than they have to. There are not any St. Augustine lawns in this area. You might find some in Atlanta but they really have to nurse them through the winter.

    The reason to do it is to have a green lawn year round. Some people will even paint there dormant bermuda to give it a green look. It looks cheap and tacky to me.
  4. RAlmaroad

    RAlmaroad LawnSite Silver Member
    from SC
    Messages: 2,249

    Sure--lots of us overseed with Rye during the winter over centipede and St. Augustine, contrary to popular belief, St. Augustine is a cool season grass and does a lot of it's growing during the winter. Rye won't deplete the ground of much except the nitrogen, which neither the centipede nor St. Augustine need a lot of. I'd give the sod a little extra phosphate and potash during the green-up time--down south that's about April. Yea, even mow the rye, though it's rather late to sow it now. St. Augustine around here is used for some shady area or a little more traffic area. Centipede don't like traffic. Does grass ever go dormant in Mississippi? Never had the pleasure of getting down there. Hope you are a little more inland.
  5. RonB

    RonB LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 427

    Most lawns are Cent./ St. around here or a mix of both. What I was thinking is with a winter grass I could get a few cuts (business) during the winter months in addition to the overseeding.

    Didn't consider during spring rye would growing that much. What are you doing for prep? Cut the lawn low, say Oct., spread the seed, fert, toss some topsoil on top ..? And do nothing when it warms up to the original lawn (other than regular fert)?

    RA - I'm in east central MS. The other nights low was 17ยบ but usually this time of year it's upper 20's low 30's.
  6. Armadillolawncare

    Armadillolawncare LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 570

    Here is my process for putting down winter rye witn a Bermuda lawn.
    Cut Bermuda grass low, at least down to 1.0-1.5 inches.
    Spread starter fert throughout entire area to be seeded with Rye.
    Spread rye grass seed
    Water daily until you see the rye beginning to come up.
    Keep dang birds from eating your seed throughout whole process
  7. Mike M

    Mike M LawnSite Bronze Member
    from usa
    Messages: 1,988

    Ditto with centipede. Cut it low. Annual rye grows easily.

    I'm new in SC. We have centipede in my development. I put the rye down as an experiment on my own yard. It grew easily with one application of starter fert.

    Rye cuts the same as the northern grass in spring--wet, sticky, dense! Nothing I'm not used to. I love cutting the centipede, easy to mulch. Can't wait for the season to start up.

    Your distributor (lesco?) should help with schedules.


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