Question: I want a green lawn in the winter. Isn’t that where folks use ryegrass? When should it be planted? I have a mix of St. Augustine and bermuda.
Answer: Ryegrass is the choice, and you’ll probably want to use “perennial” rye. It’s a finer-bladed grass than annual rye, so it’s much easier to maintain in the spring. Annual rye will need to be mowed every couple of days, while perennial rye can hold out for 5- to 7-day intervals. Its seed does cost more than annual rye, but it’s worth every penny. Sow it in September and keep the lawn moist until it germinates. Rye works better in overseeding bermuda than it will in St. Augustine, owing primarily to the density of the St. Augustine turf. Beware using rye to overseed St. Augustine in shaded areas. The added competition may seriously weaken the St. Augustine as it tries to green back up in the spring. Added to that, perennial rye will actually live later into early summer in the shade. Those two factors can combine to cause real problems for your St. Augustine.