Before we jump into the germination time frame of ryegrass, let’s cover a few basics. First off, ryegrass is an excellent seed choice for starting a green lawn if you live in an area with cold winter temperatures. It is a hardy grass type that will come back each year depending on what kind of ryegrass you use.
I should point out right away that ryegrass falls in the cool-season grasses category. It is similar to tall fescue, another common lawn grass choice. If you are stuck on which one to get, just know that ryegrass will germinate and establish much quicker than tall fescue.
The first decision you need to make is whether or not you want your lawn to be replanted each year or if you want it to last multiple years in a row. If you choose a short-term time frame, you can opt for annual ryegrass, which you will replant each year. If you would rather have a long-term lawn, a perennial ryegrass seed is the better option for you.
As it sounds, the annual ryegrass seed type completes its entire life cycle in one year versus the perennial grass type, which continues its growth for several years. It might be important to note that annual ryegrass is cheaper than perennial ryegrass.
Ryegrass Seeding Rate
No worries if you don’t know exactly when to plant your ryegrass! The planting times ryegrass depending on whether or not you chose the annual or perennial seed. If you choose the annual, it is best to plant during the spring, while if you select the perennial, the best time to plant is in the fall. If you are also unsure how many seeds you should plant, the standard recommendation is 48 kg of ryegrass seed per acre.
If you’re not quite sure how exactly to convert acreage to square feet, another reference is a seeding rate that is less than 9 pounds per 1,000 square feet.
Note: Use a seed spreader for sprinkling the seeds in a uniform manner. This will help prevent any bare patches from occurring! If you can, they recommend spreading half of the seed in a horizontal direction and the other half in a vertical direction.
Sowing Ryegrass Seed
This part is great news; ryegrass will germinate and grow even if you did not have the time to till the soil or follow the recommended lawn care! Make sure you use fertilizer on your lawn before you plant the ryegrass seed and water regularly to irrigate the ryegrass seed.
However, for the best results, they highly encourage you to take the time to scarify the soil to help with quick germination. If you’re not quite sure what scarifying the soil is, it simply means removing the build-up of organic material on your lawn.
Provided that the soil moisture, temperature, and other environmental factors are maintained, ryegrass seed will germinate within 1-2 weeks after sowing. This means that you will start seeing the green, lush lawn in a short time frame! Do not be alarmed, however, when the perennial ryegrass turns slightly yellow in later fall.
So, the right temperature for ryegrass seed germination falls somewhere between 59-65 degrees Fahrenheit. For the soil, it will need to be moist to help promote quick germination. The other factors are air circulation and moderate light, as seeds that are located deep in the soil will not germinate.
How Long Does Ryegrass Take To Establish?
The length of time that it takes for ryegrass to establish will depend on whether the temperature, soil, and moisture levels are okay. However, ryegrass does spread quickly and takes approximately 1-2 months to spread from the time you plant the seeds. Ryegrass roots are very shallow, not growing much deeper than a few inches, allowing them to spread quickly.
Will Ryegrass Germinate On Top Of Soil?
For a simple answer, yes, the ryegrass will germinate on top of the soil. Even on top of the soil, they get the sunlight, moisture, oxygen, and the correct temperature. If you choose to go this route, though, be prepared to have to do more maintenance to make it look good.
If you just have the seeds lying on top of the soil, the birds might think of them as a free meal. The temperatures will also be very inconsistent, causing problems with how well they germinate. The seeds will also have difficulty absorbing nutrients like nitrogen and moisture if only a portion of the seed is in contact with it.
If you don’t have a lot of time when you are planting, even making time just to run a rake of the soil will help! Raking will create a thin top layer of soil that will help tremendously. If you can’t, bring yourself to rake and spread a layer of hay over the top of it to see better results!