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    Back to Grass Types    |   Perennial Ryegrass

Perennial Ryegrass - Lolium perenne



Cool-Season Grass


Full sun, will tolerate some shade

Not fussy, but must be well-drained

Needs regular watering, can not tolerate drought

Bunch-type growth habit with a medium to fine-textured leaf blade


Low to Moderate


Perennial ryegrass has the best wear and traffic tolerance of any of the cool-season grasses, which is why it's so often used on playing fields, and residential lawns that have lots of use.

Perennial ryegrass is a very good low-maintenance choice for home lawns that have a lot of wear and foot traffic. It can be mowed closely or left to grow long.

Perennial ryegrass does not do well in the shade, and while it can take some, it can not take extreme cold, heat, or drought.

It is not as cold tolerant as Kentucky bluegrass or as drought tolerant as tall fescue, but it has many uses.

It has a bunch-type growth that will form a nice uniform lawn if it is properly maintained. The plant is often red at the base or crown, which distinguishes it from Kentucky bluegrass. It has a wide range of green color, depending on variety.

Perennial ryegrass has shallow roots and spreads only by clumps. It establishes from seed very quickly, taking less than a month to set up. This quick-growing grass is very popular with homeowners and is also frequently used in lawn combination mixes that contain Kentucky bluegrass and fine fescues.

This grass thrives during the fall and spring, when temperatures are lower, and in moderate summer warmth. Like bluegrass, it requires frequent irrigation during the summer months because of its shallow root system. The advantage it has over bluegrass is its ability to stand up to the shade. It grows well in almost all soils, provided that they are not exceptionally wet.

If you live where there is considerable summer heat, perennial ryegrass is a good option when mixed with bermuda grass. Perennial ryegrass dies during the late spring heat, allowing the bermuda grass to take over. This process repeats itself in the fall.

Unique qualities:

More than 100 varieties
Very popular choice for lawns
Very fast to establish (3-7 days to sprout)
Goes dormant in summer if not irrigated
Susceptible to rust
Does not develop lawn thatch

Optimum Mowing Height: 2 to 3.5 inches (5 to 9 cm) - Grass also does well at 3 to 4 inch (7.6 to 10 cm) mowing height

Grass Types | Cool Season Grasses | Creeping Bentgrass | Canada Bluegrass | Kentucky Bluegrass | Rough Bluegrass | Perennial Ryegrass | Fine Fescues | Tall Fescue | Wheatgrass


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