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How to Eliminate Annual Ryegrass on Your LawnImage result for annual ryegrass control

Annual ryegrass has gained a reputation for being a favored turfgrass and is even used to overseed home lawns during cold winter months. For farmers and ranchers, it is also frequently grown as a cover crop to provide food for grazing cattle. While it is valued in some cases for its adaptability, quick establishment, and aggressive growth, it could also be a cause for concern since these very same traits are also considered to be characteristics of a weed.

Annual ryegrass can be particularly troublesome to control because of it’s ability to adapt to and resist herbicide applications. Fortunately, there is a way to keep annual ryegrass under control and we here at Solutions Pest and Lawn will show you how to do so and what you will need.

To get rid of annual ryegrass, you first need to do a little homework on the weed and be armed with some knowledge so you can know what conditions this type of weed likes, what it doesn’t like and then based on the information, approach with an effective control strategy. This is where we can best help.

Here at Solutions Pest and Lawn, we’re dedicated to serving you with not only supplying the best professional-grade products in the lawn and pest control industry, but also we want to empower you with the confidence to tackle any issues you have on your yard or home yourself, without hiring a professional.

Our motto is, “Ask us, then do it yourself”. Aside from our customer service line where you can talk live to an expert, you can also email us your specific questions and concerns at askapro@solutionsstores.com and we’ll be happy to help guide you in the right direction.

View our selection of products we recommend for getting rid of annual ryegrass and then scroll further to learn how to tackle annual bluegrass in depth using our solutions 4 step process.

How To Get Rid of Annual Ryegrass: Solutions 4 Step Process

Step 1: Identification. When annual ryegrass rears its ugly head on your lawn, its not uncommon for property owners to not correctly diagnose or identify the plant.  For example, some lawn owners often mistake annual ryegrass some other grassy weed. Identifying the unwanted plant that is growing on your lawn is vital because once you can correctly ID the weed, you can then research and find out what active ingredients, herbicides and cultural methods work best to tackle that weed and which products are specifically designed to target it. Improperly ID'ing a plant may result in waste of time and effort purchasing herbicides which won't work against it.

One common issue the creeps up with annual ryegrass is it's confusion with perennial ryegrass. While the grasses share many of the same characteristics, for one, annual ryegrass lasts for one growing season while perennial can grow in multiple seasons like spring and fall. Annual ryegrass grows in bunches and their blades are dark green and have ridges on the upper surface while they are glossy and smooth on the lower surface. They have rounded ligules and has a narrow inflorescence which consists of multiple small spikelets arranged alternately. They often have a red dot at the inside base of the tillers.

When you’re unsure or can’t quite pinpoint exactly which kind of weed you are encountering in your yard, turn to the experts to ID the weed for you. We recommend taking a high resolution photo of the unwanted weed with your phone and shoot it over to our email address at Identification@solutionsstores.com. We will respond back to you quickly with not only the correct ID of the plant, we will also give you expert recommendations of products and techniques to apply to remove that weed from your lawn.


Step 2: Inspection. Conduct a thorough inspection of your lawn or landscape to see where the annual ryegrass is growing. Annual ryegrass is adapted to wet or well-drained soil and requires significant amounts of water to thrive. While ryegrass typically only survives for one year, if the grass produces seed before dying, the seed will sprout the following year making annual ryegrass a reoccuring annual problem. Once you have guaged how severe of a problem you have (minor or taking over the entire lawn)you will then know where to focus your chemical herbicide applications.


Step 3: Control. If annual ryegrass is a recurring problem on your lawn, we recommend starting with pre-emergent when it comes to control. Applying a pre-emergent at the right time can do wonders in making sure annual ryegrass doesn’t emerge in the spring time and at best case, is killed off completely. We recommend using Oxadiazon 50 WSB Pre-Emergent. Timing is key when conducting a pre emergent application or else the application will be ineffective. The best time to lay pre-emergent down to get rid of annual bluegrass should be around the late summertime or early fall, generally around the time temperatures start to lower below 70 degrees.

If annual ryegrass is already established on your lawn, post-emergent products will have to do. RoundUp Pro Weed Killer is an excellent choice but if you'd like an alternative to RoundUp you  can use Revolver Herbicide or Rimsulfuron 25 DF. What you will choose depends upon your personal preference and your budget.

Read all labels and instructions carefully with whatever herbicide you choose to use. If you have desired grass around where the annual ryegrass is growing, you can choose to spot treat. Either way, be careful when using herbicides in general around your desired plants as they could potentially kill your wanted turf. Also, please be sure that when handling ay type of herbicide, you are properly protecting your skin and eyes with safety equipment. Goggles, gloves and love sleeved clothing should suffice.

For best results, wait until the daytime temperatures climb above 50 degrees Fahrenheit and the nighttime temperatures are no lower than 40 degrees Fahrenheit. The herbicide application process should also occur only during dry periods with a lot of sun, as rain will wash it away before it can do damage to the ryegrass.

Step 4: Prevention. You can prevent the return of annual ryegrass after it has been controlled with cultural practices that will hinder the redevelopment of this invasive grassy weed. One helpful practice is to carry out regular mowing practices and ensuring that your desired grass is well fertilized so it can take over and choke out any chance of annual ryegrass establishing itself.

Check out our article: The Ideal Times To Use Pre-Emergent on Your Lawn

Learn More About Annual Ryegrass

Annual ryegrass is a winter annual found throughout the United States that has a fibrious root system and may reach heights of up to 3 feet .Annual ryegrass is also called Italian ryegrass and is closely related to perennial ryegrasses. Stems are often tinged red at the base, and leaves are rolled in the bud with claw-like auricles in the collar region. Leaf blades are 2-1/2 to 8 inches long, 1/8 to 1/4 inches wide, and have a membranous ligule. The seedhead is a 4- to 16-inch-long spike with spikelets that have long awns arranged alternately up the stem.

Rye grass grows in bunches rather than individual blades and is characterized by a yellow at the base which develops into dark green leaf blades. Although ryegrass typically only survives one year, if the grass produces seed before dying, the seed will sprout the following year.

Annual ryegrass is highly adaptable as it can grow in a variety of soil types except for excessively drained or very poorly drained soils. In order to survive, annual ryegrass requires medium to high soil fertility. It is best adapted to areas with long seasons of cool, moist weather. It can survive short periods of flooding if well established. Annual ryegrass are unable to tolerate hot, dry weather and these conditions speed maturity.

Annual ryegrass is actually a popular grass for some to use to overseed residential lawns during the winter. It is also frequently used in agricultural settings as a crop cover to provide food for grazing livestock.

Although ryegrass is looked at as beneficial when growing crops and revegetating disturbed sites, it may usually be seen as a regret to farmers who choose to grow it as it very quickly becomes a troublesome pest in farmers’ cash crop.


Better Safe Than Sorry: Equip Yourself With Protective Safety Equipment Before Spraying


Options to Control Annual Ryegrass

Annual ryegrass is resistant to a number of herbicides. What has been most successful when it comes to controlling annual ryegrass has been Glyphosate or Roundup as well as Revolver herbicide. What you choose depends on your preference and budget. It is important to note that timing and technique is especially important when applying herbicides to a persistent pest like annual ryegrass.

Controlling ryegrass is best done in the Springtime when the weather is warmer and when the weed is actively growing. It is important to not let the ryegrass go to seed or it may create additional weed management problems.  If annual ryegrass is allowed to reach the flowering stage, control may become easier, but some viable seed may develop.

When using glyphosate be sure to be careful not to let the chemical come into contact with your desired vegetation. Refer to the instruction label for the correct mixing and application rates.


Make Sure You Have The Right Equipment For The Job. SHOP For Sprayers and Other Lawn Care Essentials


Annual Ryegrass Tips and Recommendations

  • Wait two weeks and examine the lawn for new rye grass which may have sprouted from seeds. Apply a second application of herbicide if evidence of new ryegrass is found.

  • Use a hand-pump sprayer with a fan tip nozzle. Spraying a fine mist is best when applying herbicides to annual bluegrass so that entire plant if completely coated.

  • Remember that the label is the law. Be sure to look towards the instructions on the label for proper application and mixing rates.

  • When handling any pesticide be sure to wear the right protective equipment to cover your skin, eyes, nasal openings and mouth.

  • For more detailed guides and demonstrations on how to use herbicides, please check out our knowledge base or our How-To Videos

Not the Weed Problem You Have? Check Out Our Other Weeds On Our Grassy Weed Control Page.


For more information on controlling annual ryegrass on your lawn and to get advice catered to your unique issue from experts, contact us at askapro@solutionsstores.com or call our customer service line at (800) 479-6583.


Additional Annual Ryegrass Resources

Annual Ryegrass Difficult to Control in Pastures When It's Not Wanted


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