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Consider Ryegrass, the Grass for the Cold

by Alex Russel, All About Lawns Columnist

Though it grows in clumps and yellows in the late summer, ryegrass is a good grass option for lawns grown in cooler climates.

For those of us who live in cooler climates, waiting for a lawn to start coming alive in the spring can be a frustrating experience. Popular grasses like Bermuda grass or Kentucky bluegrass wilt in the cold and sometimes take weeks to regain the green sheen we want them to have.

A Cool Grass

Ryegrass is the most common remedy for this lack of growth in cool climates. Ryegrass' uncanny ability to adapt to cool seasons and its high growing rate make it one of the most common grass selections in colder states like Maine or Minnesota.
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Ryegrass originally comes from Europe. The grass grows in tight bunches and comes in two basic types: annual and perennial.

Annual Ryegrass

Annual ryegrass is usually much cheaper than the perennial grass version and with good reason. Usually planted in the winter or late fall, annual ryegrass survives for one year only. One of its most common uses is by construction companies who want to quickly and cheaply grass over a work area.

Perennial Ryegrass

Perennial grass is the version used to plant long-term garden lawns. Its' considerable benefits are that the grass doesn't die after one season cycle and, like all ryegrass, it grows quickly in the cold.

Ryegrass Drawbacks

But it also grows in clumps so you will never get the uniform green blanket you can get with Bermuda grass or crabgrass. And in the late summer, perennial ryegrass tends to go yellow, though it recuperates quickly once temperatures start cooling again in September or October.

These drawbacks have to be weighed against the increase in winter growth and survival. In fact, because of these special talents, both ryegrass versions are commonly used in grass mixtures. When combined with a fescue grass or crabgrass, ryegrass is an excellent contributor to a team effort of maintaining a year-round lawn.

About the Author
Alex Russel is a freelance writer living in Brooklyn, NY. Since graduating from Syracuse University he has worked at many different media companies in fields as diverse as film, TV, advertising, and journalism. He holds a dual bachelor's degree in English and History.

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