Gulf Annual Ryegrass Seed - Gulf annual ryegrass is used for lawn, pasture and forage applications around the world. Annual ryegrass is an erect, robust cool-season bunch grass that reaches a height of 3 to 4 feet. Plants are yellowish-green at the base and have 12-inch long glossy leaves. This species has a heavy, extensive, fibrous root system. Annual ryegrass has small seeds (approximately 190,000 seeds/lb) that germinate rapidly. Seedlings quickly establish a ground cover and are very competitive. Annual ryegrass flowers in late May to early June and matures seed by late June to early July.
Lawn or Pasture Applications:
Over seed existing pasture areas at 25-50 lbs per acre.
Over seed lawns at 1-2 lbs. per 1000 sq. ft.
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Annual Ryegrass Description
Annual ryegrass is an erect, robust cool-season bunch grass that reaches a height of 3 to 4 feet. Plants are yellowish-green at the base and have 12-inch long glossy leaves. This species has a heavy, extensive, fibrous root system. Annual ryegrass has small seeds (approximately 190,000 seeds/lb) that germinate rapidly. Seedlings quickly establish a ground cover and are very competitive. Annual ryegrass flowers in late May to early June and matures seed by late June to early July.
Annual Ryegrass Uses
Annual ryegrass can be used as a cover crop in annual or perennial cropping systems, or as forage, hay, or a nurse crop for legumes and permanent grasses. It often can be grown under conditions where other cover crops fail. Because it establishes quickly and grows throughout the fall and winter, it is an excellent choice for soil protection and weed suppression.
Annual ryegrass is suitable as a cover crop in grass waterways or riparian areas subject to flooding because it tolerates wet soils and temporary flooding. It also commonly is used on poor soils or on sandy or rocky soils, where it normally produces better growth than do cereal species. It is a good choice for fast, temporary cover on exposed areas with minimal seedbed preparation, such as construction and burned areas.
Annual ryegrass has been used successfully as a relay-planted cover crop in both short-and tall-statured summer crops. Compared to cereal grains, its smaller seed allows better seed-soil contact under marginal seedbed conditions, and it is better at emerging from thick harvest residue (e.g., sweet corn). Annual ryegrass is a heavy N feeder and can be used to scavenge N from the soil during the fall and winter, therefore reducing losses caused when rains leach nitrate below the root zone.
Annual Ryegrass Management
Seeding rates vary depending on the intended use and the seeding technique. In general, relatively high rates of seeding are recommended, despite the relatively small seed size. When used as a cover crop, seeding rates range from 9-40 lb/acre. Use higher rates when broadcasting and when soil protection is important. Seed is widely available.
Suggested fall planting dates are from mid-September to mid-October. Best stand establishment is obtained when annual ryegrass is drilled 1/2 to 3/4 inch deep into a firm, well prepared seedbed. Alternative seeding methods that can reduce seedbed preparation but require higher seeding rates are: drill into a rough seedbed prepared by disking, or broadcast over a rough or smooth seedbed and then disk lightly to cover the seed. If the soil is dry, irrigate or plant before a fall rain.
When relay interplanting, broadcast into a standing summer crop immediately before the final cultivation. Increase irrigation frequency while the annual ryegrass is germinating for more even establishment. Annual ryegrass will germinate on the soil surface if adequate moisture is maintained.
In annual rotations, kill or incorporate annual ryegrass in spring with sufficient time for decomposition to occur before planting the summer crop. Excessive dry matter production can interfere with residue management, spring planting, and N availability to the following crop, so annual ryegrass usually is killed or incorporated when still somewhat succulent.
Higher rates of herbicide are required to kill annual ryegrass than cereal grain cover crops. Consult your county agent of the OSU Extension Service for recommended rates. Always apply herbicides in accordance with label instructions and restrictions.
Annual ryegrass often is grown in mixtures with legumes. When seeded with legumes, annual ryegrass provides early protection of the soil, suppresses weeds, and acts as a nurse crop. However, due to its vigorous growth, annual ryegrass may smother companion legumes. Reduce annual ryegrass seeding rates to decrease annual ryegrass competition for light, water, and nutrients.
When used in perennial systems such as orchards and vineyards, annual ryegrass can reseed itself if mowing schedules permit seed production. If a temporary cover is desired, you should kill, incorporate, or mow annual ryegrass before seed is mature.
Annual ryegrass is likely to tolerate mowing unless flailed at ground level in very dry conditions, but even then it may survive.