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How to Manage Pests

The UC Guide to Healthy Lawns

Planting and management tips for perennial ryegrass


  • Mow at 1.5 - 2.5 inches.
  • If used to overseed warm-season grasses, gradually reduce the height of the ryegrass in the spring by mowing it more closely and more often to encourage growth of warm-season grasses as they come out of dormancy.


  • Fertilize using 4 lbs. nitrogen/1000 sq. ft. per year during the period of active growth (February - June; October - December).


  • Seed in the fall or use sod.
  • Seed at 6 - 9 lbs. seed/1000 sq. ft.
  • Ryegrass seed germinates quickly: 3 - 5 days in moderate temperatures.
  • A rapid turf cover is established within 4 - 8 weeks.


  • Water frequently.
  • Water to a depth of 6 - 12 inches.
  • If used to overseed warm-season grasses, water deeply and less often in the spring to encourage the growth of warm-season grasses coming out of dormancy.

Special problems

  • May suppress germination and seedling growth of other grasses in the mixture (allelopathy)
  • Drought sensitive
  • If seeded alone, becomes "stemy" after a couple of years
  • Can become weedy when used to overseed warm-season grasses

For more information, see the following sections:

Statewide IPM Program, Agriculture and Natural Resources, University of California
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