When does annual Ryegrass die is something you must know before planting this grass on your lawn. Annual Ryegrass is a cool-season variety with a fast growth habit and lush, light-green blades.

The Life Span of Annual Ryegrass

The lolium multiflorum, is drought and traffic resistant and can be used to control erosion. Keep reading this guide to find out when it dies each year so that you can plant and sow its seeds at the right time.

When Does Annual Ryegrass Die?

Annual Ryegrass dies in early fall or early spring on its own, when the temperature is below zero, or above 90 degrees. In addition, when the grass has been over fertilized, and when it has been sprayed with glyphosate herbicide.

– Early Fall 

As the name suggests, annual Ryegrass is the only grass that lasts one year, naturally. Its grass seeds germinate around late autumn to early spring, depending on where you live. The grass blades turn and then remain green from spring until early fall.

Note that the grass begins to die and wilt when the temperatures drop below 50 degrees. The real grass will turn brown and easily pull up via its roots. This is an undeniable sign that the grass is dead and will not be reviving in the upcoming spring season unless you sow new seeds yourself.

The ideal temperature range under which this grass thrives is between 68 and 77 degrees Fahrenheit.

In warmer regions, the grass seeds might germinate as early as late autumn, and the grass turns green as soon as the temperatures rise more than 60 degrees in early spring.

Of course, one clear disadvantage of any annual grass is that it dies at the end of a single growing season.

You will have to rake up your soil, remove the dead grass after each time in the colder seasons, and then reseed the grass using a seed mix of your choice, such as Jonathan green winter rye grass or the princess 77 Bermuda grass seed.

– Below Zero Temperatures

Annual Ryegrass dies when the temperature dips below 50 degrees Fahrenheit. It is one of the most particular grass types regarding extreme temperatures. As soon as frost hits and the temperatures drop to sub-zero, this grass will die.

In addition, the annual grass would even die in winter only in regions where the temperature drops below zero.

Note that this grass cannot tolerate near-freezing or sub-zero temperatures and will die after the frost freezes its roots. In most hot and transition zone states where the winters are moderate and do not experience frost, this grass will not die and will instead thrive through winters.

Ice on Ryegrass Below Zero Temperatures

The dead grass blades and moisture from the frost serve as the breeding ground for bacteria and fungi. Many lawn owners then have to deal with a lawn full of dead and diseased grass that needs to be removed before new seeds can be sowed.

Cool-season grass naturally cannot tolerate very cold winters and might turn brown. If you live someplace those experiences extremes of weather throughout the year, then this might not be the best grass for your house, because the death of it will damage it in the long run.

– Temperatures Above 90 Degrees

Annual Ryegrass is a cool-season grass that does not like hot and humid temperatures. This makes it the grass of choice for the cooler northern regions in the US. That is why you will notice that its grass blades will fry off and die under hot temperatures above 90 or 100 degrees Fahrenheit.

Annual Ryegrass is drought-tolerant under normal circumstances and can go weeks without being watered. If you couple the rising temperatures above 90 degrees with conditions of drought, then the grass dies even faster.

In summer time when the temperature is above 90 degrees Fahrenheit, its roots and grass blades die as soon as temperatures rise, and it will not survive beyond this blazing temperature, as it cannot withstand it.

When it is somewhere between 70 and 90 degrees, this grass often starts to grow dormant. Dry and brown leaf blades commonly indicate dormancy. However, you can still save it from dying by fully caring for its watering needs.

– Too Much Fertilizing

Ryegrass is not too fond of excess fertilizing and can get its leaf blades burnt pretty quickly.

In this regard, you must not treat it like your regular grass, because this more sensitive than the regular kind. If you have added a slow-release fertilizer to the soil at the start of the season, then no need to feed it with any commercial fertilizer for the rest of the growing season.

Too Much Fertilizing on Reygrass

If you wish to stick to liquid fertilizer, use it only once every six to eight weeks. Don’t forget to wash down the fertilizer with water to double or triple-dilute it first, because it may be sensitive to it. If you see ryegrass blades turning yellow, hold back on feeding for the rest of the season.

In addition, you can also go by without feeding this grass at all. Whenever you mow it, don’t sweep off the grass clippings; instead, just let it spread over the grass to be on the safe side. This would serve as natural mulch or fertilizer over the next few weeks.

– Sprayed With A Glyphosate Herbicide

Ryegrass will die very quickly when sprayed when a non-selective glyphosate herbicide. Spring is the best time to use a glyphosate herbicide to kill grass and weeds because you can directly attack annual ryegrass seeds. 

The next best time to apply it is during the fall period when the growth of the grass begins to slow down. Herbicide application for annual Ryegrass is the same as for Perennial ryegrass seeds.

In most regions, the soil and air temperatures are perfect for herbicide application in the last two weeks of April. This means daytime temperatures above 60 degrees Fahrenheit and nighttime ones above 40 degrees.

However, in certain regions with high soil saturation, such as Indiana, it might not be possible to use soil in late April or even early May. So, late February or March is the right time in this case. In any case, be sure that your soil temperature is above 45 degrees Fahrenheit.


When Does Ryegrass Thrive?

The Rygrass thrives in the fall season to early spring season, when the weather is between 67 and 77 degrees Fahrenheit. It will grow rapidly and produce blades of its grass within this range of temperature, when it is not warm nor cold.

Ryegrass germinates and grows at a rapid rate compared to most turf grasses. It germinates within a week, taking barely seven to 10 days maximum during the fall seasons, and the Lush grass will cover the whole lawn and turf as soon as two to three weeks. 

Just like its perennial counterpart, this grass type also has a moderate level of traffic tolerance. You can safely walk around this grass and let pets and kids play around the lawn, when it is in the growth phase.

Any patch damaged by excessive foot traffic soon becomes refilled by new growing blades that it will be producing. Again, this is owed to the fast growth of this annual grass when the temperature is to its liking.

Once you plant annual Ryegrass, you will not have to worry much about weed control or eradication. This grass releases certain chemicals and plant hormones in the soil that suppress the growth of any other plant roots growing nearby. Weeds and other plant types will also have difficulty growing in soil with established annual Ryegrass.

Many grass types can only be grown at certain heights and stop growing when mowed higher or lower than that. A major advantage that the annual ryegrass offers is that it can be mowed as low as one inch or as high as three inches long. One piece of caution we must give you is to never mow the grass more than one-third the length of the leaf blade in one go. 

Take care not to put off mowing it regularly to keep the blades at an ideal height of around one to three inches. If left to its own, Ryegrass can grow as tall as several feet, and you will not be able to cut it with an average lawn mower.


– When Is The Best Time To Plant Annual Ryegrass At Home?

The best time to plant any cool-season grass is during spring or fall when the temperatures are lower. If you have to choose between these two, fall time is better than spring. 

In US Zone five or less, you have time from midsummer till early fall, whereas in US zones six or warmer, you can sow the seeds till late fall.

Growing Ryegrass at Lawn

Normal annual grass seeds take about seven to 10 days to germinate. If you go for a specialized seed mixture like Pennington smart seed shade grass seed, you can get your seeds to germinate within three days.

– Is Annual Ryegrass The Same Grass As Winter Rye?

Annual Ryegrass differs from winter ryegrass, although both types only last for a single season. 

Annual Ryegrass is quite popular among lawn and turf owners. In contrast, winter rye is used solely as a cover crop, especially during harsh winters. They also look very different, as Ryegrass is light green and has a coarse texture.

– Approximately How Fast Does Annual Ryegrass Spread?

Annual Ryegrass spreads slowly via above-ground tillers once it has been fully established. It is a fast-growing grass germinating and establishes itself quicker than most other lawn grasses. Annual ryegrass germination temperature needs to be more than 65 degrees Fahrenheit to grow as fast as possible.


In this article, you learned about when it usually dies, along with the various pros and cons of annual Ryegrass; therefore, here are some key points to note.

  • This cool-season grass lasts only one season, so it dies naturally in the fall or spring, depending on when it is planted.
  • Whenever the daily temperatures rise more than 90 degrees Fahrenheit in summer, this grass will die, and you will have to reseed it.
  • When the lawn if sprayed with a glyphosate herbicide, this grass will also end up dying along with the weed.

Now that you know about all the times when annual Ryegrass dies, we bet you feel much more confident about growing this grass like a pro. Please stay away from temperature extremes and see how your grass makes it throughout the year.

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