Putting a Little Lipstick on our Pig – Annual Ryegrass

After two hurricanes that brought an incredible amount of water, coupled with the freeze in early 2023, our permanent bahiagrass looked brown and gnarly. It was a perfect time to put some lipstick on our pig. We decided to compare the bahiagrass in front and behind our pavilion located in the heart of our Exploration Gardens. The East portion (smaller section behind the pavilion)  was untouched whereas the West portion was overseeded with annual ryegrass.

What is annual ryegrass? Annual ryegrass is a fast-growing bunch type grass that is a vibrant green and is often used to overseed and serve as a cover crop. This cool season grass is also short lived; once temperatures get warm enough, it will begin to die back, allowing the warm season turfgrass to emerge.

Some homeowners couldn’t care less if their yard turns brown in the winter, which is normal. However, some homeowners have the desire for green year-round. And overseeding annual ryegrass is a great option. The benefits are visible – a wispy carpet of bright, green covers the entire area. The cost for a bag of annual ryegrass varies, ranging from $30 – $50 (and up) for 20lb – 50lb bags, and can be found at your favorite box store. This also eliminates the urge to run and buy fertilizer for your brown yard to encourage it to grow and green up.

Annual ryegrass also has other benefits for your yard. One of those benefits is building soil structure. The roots for annual ryegrass hold soil together very nicely. This makes it a prime choice for poor soils and wet and rocky areas. When the ryegrass is established, it helps with erosion and water filtration because of its thick root system. Lastly, annual ryegrass is fairly effective at reducing the weed threshold when cut no lower than 3.5” – 4”.

Annual ryegrass is not the be-all and end-all of having a green lawn here in Central Florida. It only lasts for a few months until the weather gets warmer. But with its fast germination and quick establishment, your lawn will be green very quickly and it may be an option for you.


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Posted: February 17, 2023

Category: AGRICULTURE, Blog Community, HOME LANDSCAPES, Horticulture, Lawn, Natural Resources, Turf, UF/IFAS, UF/IFAS Extension
Tags: Bahaigrass, Cool Season Grass, Exploration Gardens, Hurricane Recovery, Ocextension, Ryegrass

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