Winter lawn?

tracydr(9b)September 27, 2011

I've never planted rye grass for the winter in AZ. This summer I've finally gotten a nice Bermuda patch established in the walkways of my gardens. My chickens really enjoy grazing the grass. I'd like to plant rye, maybe mixed with clover. When and how to I go about doing this? Also, which clover is the best choice for overseeding around here?

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Raimeiken - z9b - Peoria, AZ

I've never done it either but Im thinking about doing this as well. I planted my bermuda lawn this past spring and its doing pretty well right now.

From what I've read, you have to to scalp/cut it really low and dethatch your current bermuda before seeding with rye grass, so that the seeds can easily make contact with the ground.

    Bookmark   September 27, 2011 at 11:59AM
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aztreelvr

I'm not sure about the clover but do know a little about rye grass.

First, if this is the first winter for your Bermuda skip the overseeding. The grass just isn't strong enough to tolerate the stress of scalping (mowing close to the ground) right at the time when its trying to store nutrients for the winter dormancy period.

There are two types of rye - winter rye and perennial rye. The perennial is a little more expensive, but is a darker green color and has less water content in the leaves so it doesn't stick to your lawnmower blades as badly. For chickens it might not matter. The perennial really isn't - but it will hang on year round in shady, moist places.

As raimeiken mentioned, you'll need to cut your Bermuda as close to the ground as possible so the seed can make contact with the soil. Applying a thin layer of mulch, or even the clippings from scalping will help insulate the seed and hide it from hungry birds.

Water a few minutes 4 times a day until you see germination - usually in 7 - 10 days. You just want to moisten the top couple of inches of soil. After the seedlings reach 1-1/2 inches you can cut the water back to once a day, but water longer so moisture reaches a depth of 4-5 inches. This will encourage deep roots. After you mow the grass for the first time you can cut the water back even more to once, 2 or 3 times a week. If we get winter rains you can skip watering.

You'll need to make sure your grass is well rooted or the chickens will pull it out of the ground.

Here is a link that might be useful: Overseeding Winter Lawns

    Bookmark   September 30, 2011 at 12:46PM
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senore100

Last year I missed the boat and had to deal with a yellow lawn through the winter. Today I just bought the rye seeds from Home Depot and am here looking for some information. I just found oneline somewhere that it's the right time to overseed when the lowest temp is around 60 degrees during the night. So I guess we will just have to wait another week or so. I would like to get it done this weekend, which will see above 70 as the lowest. Will it be a tad too hot?
Sounds like perennial rye is a better choice! How would I know what I got is or isn't? Thanks!

    Bookmark   October 1, 2011 at 2:46AM
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neilaz(9a)

It should say annual or perennial on the bag. Another way would be if you paid somewhere around $3 or more per pound it is perennial. If more like $1 per pound it is annual. The only problem with doing it to soon is the summer grass will grow a little and choke some of the rye leaving you some brown patches when the first frost hits. In time the rye will fill in where the dormant Bermuda is.

If you overseeded this year you need the Bermuda to be fully established for 100 days before overseeding. But it is best to not overseeded a new Bermuda lawn the first winter.

    Bookmark   October 2, 2011 at 10:29AM
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Raimeiken - z9b - Peoria, AZ

I think it's fine to overseed now. I work at the Phoenician resort, and they overseeded their golf courses two weeks ago and everything is all green again now

    Bookmark   October 2, 2011 at 12:15PM
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tracydr(9b)

I got the annual rye. I'm mainly doing it for the chickens, it's the aisle ways in the garden. I think I'll fence them off this next week after my plum canning project and give it a try!

    Bookmark   October 2, 2011 at 11:33PM
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neilaz(9a)

Should have said "Bermuda was seeded this year" overseeded was the term to use here

    Bookmark   October 3, 2011 at 9:57AM
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neilaz(9a)

A golf course does there over seeding by the calendar. It is planned out based on when they may have a large group coming if at a Resort. Should they need to over seed while it is still hot they use a chemical to slow the growth of the Bermuda so it does not compete with the Rye.

    Bookmark   October 4, 2011 at 9:50AM
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