Lawn Q: perennial ryegrass?

paradisecircus(7b/8a)November 7, 2013

Hi everybody! A lawn Q: this past summer, we had and treated a case of something called nigraspora stolon rot on our St. Augustine grass, which makes up our mixed turf lawn. A broad spectrum fungicide was used, followed by an organic fertilizer 2 weeks later. The 3 bald spots have some thin coverage now and the fungus seems to be gone. The soil has had issues for a while and my knee jerk reaction is to not bother the lawn/soil with any more chemicals. Just feed, water and trim as necessary and let the lawn recover naturally.

Having said that, what is everyone's opinion on perennial ryegrass? I've read that overseeding is good for the lawn because the ryegrass helps edge out some of the weeds. Would that be beneficial for our lawn after the issues we've dealt with? And does anyone have experience with ryegrass? Pros/cons?

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PKponder TX(7b)

I like annual ryegrass, it fizzles out in May or June when the SA gets nice and green. I can't remember why we use annual rather than perennial, something I read a long time ago and took to heart.

Rye is great for adding nitrogen back to your soil, the roots hold nitrogen and releases it to the soil when it goes dormant. It's part of our 'plan' for resuscitating our tired SA back lawn. I love organic fertilizer and use lots of alfalfa pellets.

Did your SA turn pale and yellowish with the stolon rot? We had some large areas that went pale and then just died last summer. I attributed it to improper watering but who knows?

    Bookmark   November 8, 2013 at 9:17AM
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Ah, good to know! Anything that will naturally add benefits to the soil is a great thing!

The SA did turn yellowish. Some patches just up and died and turned white and crunchy. The arborist we work with pointed out these light gray, oblong spots or "sores" on the stolons that were the clear sign of stolon rot. He said it came from a combination of intense heat and lack of rain over the last few summers (esp last summer), our irrigation system malfunctioning, causing the lawn to go too long without water and long-standing soil issues on our lot. There are 3 places where previous owners had to remove trees. We ourselves have had to remove 2 new ones that were planted when the seller put it on the market. There are 3 mature Shumard oaks, one of which was showing early signs of oak wilt. The arborist we hired treated the tree and then looked over the whole lawn, as I had a LOT of questions and concerns. He says these things are common in Fort Worth and that tree diseases travel from lot to lot through the root system and it's rampant in my neighborhood. Combine that with alkaline, clay soil and I've got lots of fun on my hands!

Anyway, now that I know our lot has some issues (I haven't had anyone do any extensive soil testing or anything yet) and has had these issues well before we got here, I'm open to any suggestions to help nurse the soil back to health in a gentle, natural way. I want to try to get the natural cycle of things back on track as best I can. Sounds to me like overseeding with ryegrass would be one option!

    Bookmark   November 8, 2013 at 12:23PM
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PKponder TX(7b)

Start a compost heap with those fall leaves (chop them with the lawn mower and catch them in the bag) and any kitchen produce scraps, coffee grounds and lawn clippings. Topdress 1/4 inch as often as you have compost (there is NEVER enough). That will encourage nature's little tillers, the earthworms to aerate and improve your soil. Sure, it takes some time but you never have to worry about walking barefoot in the grass.

We have sugar sand here over red clay, but mostly sand. My neighbors had oak wilt but all my trees are white oak and so far, are healthy.

    Bookmark   November 8, 2013 at 3:58PM
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Lynn Marie

Personally, I consider annual ryegrass a weed. We put out pre-emergent every fall to prevent it in our yard. I prefer not to have to mess with the lawn all winter and just let it go brown. But I have bermuda. If you put it out, you'll have it to some degree possibly forever. (Unless of course what I've been told is annual rye grass in my yard is something else. (Bright green winter grass that reseeds heavily, right?))

I have been told that in other parts of the country it is customary to have a winter and summer yard and "everyone" there does it. If that is a factor in your decision, most people in the south let their yards go brown in the winter.

But that's just my opinion.

    Bookmark   November 8, 2013 at 5:29PM
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PKponder TX(7b)

It is a bright green grass in winter but unless I wait too long to mow, I don't get seeds. Are you thinking of poa annua (annual bluegrass) lynnmarie86?

I love being outside in the winter and prefer green to brown :-)

    Bookmark   November 11, 2013 at 10:53AM
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