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Differences in Annual & Perennial Ryegrass
Perennial rye grass handles differences between cold and
warm temperatures better than Annual Ryegrass, though neither
variety likes extreme temperature changes. Both ryegrass varieties are also referred to as winter ryegrass.
This map to the right shows the areas of permanent adaptation for perennial ryegrass.
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Both annual ryegrass and perennial ryegrass are used in the South (transition
zone, southward) to overseed warm season grasses such as Zoysia, Bahia and Bermudagrass
lawns during the winter months when these grasses go dormant and turn brown. These ryegrasses are also called winter ryegrass. Perennial ryegrass can extend growing into the warm season longer than
annual ryegrass and is less susceptible to dying out under warm temperatures. It's positive attribute
is that it handles lower cold temps and warmer temps than does the annual variety.
Perennial ryegrass is used in more Northern states as a single stand lawn
and also in mixtures. There is a limit to it's cold
tolerance and it can be winter killed or damaged in more extreme cold
Perennial Ryegrass Adaptation
Perennial Ryegrass Lawns are adapted to the cool season zones when grown in single stands for full coverage. It prefers sun but can tolerate moderate shade.
This ryegrass can be used in overseeding warm season grasses in the temperate zone during the winter while they are in dormancy or for greenery in the winter while the warm season grass is
getting fully established in the spring. Best established in temperate zones with plenty of rainfall and in the warmer climates with cooler nights. Perennial will not do well in extreme
heat, cold or dry situations.
Perennial ryegrass is also suited for use as a permanent lawn, pasture, or for other turf uses in the northern USA. This ryegrass is also found
in many cool season grass mixtures.
Perennial ryegrass in many situations does not always
remain a long-life grass, many times dying out in 1 to 3 years depending on the location
and temperatures. Some varieties act more like annual ryegrass, depending on how far
south they are grown.
Perennial Ryegrass Forages can be found all over the world
north of the tropical areas into the transition zone and into the regions of the
cold season zone. Perennial ryegrass can be grown on a variety of soils and climates as
long as there is sufficient rainfall or irrigation. Ryegrass is one of the most
palatable forages and produces plenty of forage material when handled correctly. The
varieties seem endless and are still being added to almost yearly. The Europeans and
developers in New Zealand are really working with some impressive strains for better
forage usage and extending the area of adaptation into the colder climates.
Annual Ryegrass Adaptation
ANNUAL RYEGRASS is rarely grown for lawns in single stands. Instead this grass is used to seed with other grasses being
established and for overseeding of warm season grasses. Annual ryegrass performs well in so many situations while the permanent grass is
filling in or in dormancy. This grass is easily grown from seed and in all kinds of soils
and climates except the very hot and very cold. The best adaptation for annual ryegrass is in regions of adequate rainfall or irrigation and damper soils.
Annual ryegrass is an environmentally friendly grass as it controls nematodes when used in rotation eliminating the need for heavy chemicals. Annual
ryegrass is easily removed from any area through heavy grazing, mowing or turning under before the seeding stage. Eco-friendly because it is a non-aggressive, vigorous grower, furnishing
nutrients back to the soil, forms an erosion soil basis for stability, highly digestible for grazing, has beautiful color, dies off when you need it to without chemicals.
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