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The Pleasures of Rye Grass

by Sarah Clark, All About Lawns Columnist

One of the most luxurious grasses is rye. Its long, soft, brightly colored blades make a beautiful lawn that will last throughout the cool season.

Each winter, without fail, my father would see to it that our house sported the greenest lawn. It outshined the others on the block not only for its dramatically bright green color, but its velvety appearance.
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As a child there were few things I loved more than to romp around our winter rye grass. It seemed to almost possess magical qualities. Within just a day or so after my father distributed the seeds, evidence of new thin blades would emerge. In no more than a week, our lawn would have grown a totally new look. Sweeping, soft and utterly luxurious looking blades demanded immediate contact with bare feet. Being a child, I was inclined to experience this new lawn with as many senses as possible. That meant spending long afternoons smelling, touching, and rolling about this landscape that seemed to resemble silk more than grass.

Growing Rye Grass

Rye seed is generally grown in the southeast and parts of the southwest, where winter temperatures are mild. It's popular for its easy care and dramatic beauty.

The ideal time to plant rye grass is in early fall, ideally between mid-September and late October. If you decide to over-seed (plant over patches of old grass), make sure you cut the existing grass very short so that the seed can settle into the soil. You can plant rye seed over your current lawn or on a clearing of soil.

rye grass needs very little care. Once you've distributed the seed (you can do this by hand, simply throwing handfuls of seeds evenly throughout the lawn), water the lawn regularly. Within a week you should see the beginnings of a willowy green lawn.

Your rye grass lawn should stay green and lush till the temperature reaches and stays at 90 degrees; this usually occurs around May.

About the Author
Sarah Clark is a freelance writer based in the Washington metro area.

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