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Is it too late to plant my winter ryegrass?

Author: Kelly Young
Issue: November, 2017, Page 143

Q - I didn’t get my winter ryegrass planted in October. Is it too late to plant now?

A - In the low deserts of Arizona, people commonly plant ryegrass (Lolium spp.) seeds over the top of Bermuda grass during September and October. The timing should be based on the weather rather than the calendar. It’s best to wait until daytime temperatures fall below 90, which sometimes doesn’t occur until November. Cold nights below 50 may hamper germination, which leads to a patchy lawn prone to weed infestation. Be sure that the Bermuda grass is dormant and cut low so that it doesn’t interfere with germinating rye seeds. Keep in mind that ryegrass doesn’t spread like Bermuda grass, so it is crucial to evenly distribute the seeds throughout the area. Use 15 pounds of ryegrass seeds per 1,000 square feet and plant half walking in a north-south direction, then the other half moving from east to west.

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