En EspaŅol

Q. Who is Mr. Smarty Plants?

A: There are those who suspect Wildflower Center volunteers are the culpable and capable culprits. Yet, others think staff members play some, albeit small, role. You can torture us with your plant questions, but we will never reveal the Green Guru's secret identity.

Help us grow by giving to the Plant Database Fund or by becoming a member

Did you know you can access the Native Plant Information Network with your web-enabled smartphone?

Share

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants is a free service provided by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

Search Smarty Plants
    
 
See a list of all Smarty Plants questions
Can't find the answer in our existing FAQs, submit a question to Mr. Smarty Plants.
Need help with plant identification, visit the plant identification page.
 
rate this answer
Not Yet Rated

Tuesday - June 03, 2008

From: Austin, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Turf
Title: Brown ryegrass in Austin lawn
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

We had rye grass planted in our yard last fall. It was beautiful all winter. Now it is brown but the St. Augustine has not yet taken over, so there are large portions of the lawn with an abundance of dried rye grass. Could lack of water this early in the year be the problem? The grass next door did not have rye grass planted and is quite green even though it has not received extra water. Any suggestions would be appreciated.

ANSWER:

We believe we already have a diagnosis on your brown ryegrass. It's dead. The ryegrasses usually used for overseeding in lawns are Lolium multiflora, an annual grass native to Southern Europe, and Lolium perenne, a perennial plant native to Europe, Asia and Africa. So, along with the St. Augustine and Bermudagrass commonly used in lawns, none are native to North America. At the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center we urge that native plants be used in landscaping, as they will require less water, fertilizer and maintenance, since they are already adapted to to the conditions where they are grown.

This article from the Clemson University Extension, Overseeding with Ryegrass, details the planting, care and problems of the ryegrasses. Ryegrass adapts well to either sun or shade. Although cheaper, annual ryegrass is a second choice to perennial ryegrass, since perennial ryegrass has more desirable turf characteristics. Annual ryegrass dies out in late spring after being planted in the fall. Perennial ryegrass usually lives somewhat longer than annual ryegrass, especially in the shade. It can survive for years in some areas of the lawn where it can become a nuisance. It has better disease resistance than annual ryegrass. It is not recommended as a permanent lawn, however, because of its susceptibility to diseases in hot weather. Ryegrasses should only be used for overseeding in the fall.

In reference to the St. Augustine, which has not yet completely covered your lawn area, you do know that it has a high water requirement, which is getting to be an ever-growing problem in urban areas, especially in this part of the country. We hope you will consider filling in the blank spaces in your lawn with native plants, until you have totally eliminated the St. Augustine. See our How-To Article on Native Lawns for suggestions and recommendations toward a more environmentally sound lawn.

 

More Turf Questions

Native replacement for non-native Bermudagrass in Leander TX
October 16, 2011 - We have Bermuda grass. Large patches have died due to the drought and our yard has been taken over by weeds and St. Augustine grass whose seeds must have blown in. Even when the grass was in great con...
view the full question and answer

Maple roots in lawn in Denton TX
June 03, 2010 - I purchased a new home 4 years ago that came with a landscape package. There are 2 trees in the front yard that I think are red maple trees. I am now seeing their roots appear above the ground which...
view the full question and answer

Nutgrass in Lakeway TX Habiturf
September 30, 2012 - I just installed a new septic system with drip field. Planted habiturf over the whole area. The habiturf is doing good, but I was away for a while and the nut grass has taken over several areas. It s...
view the full question and answer

Removal of Bermuda grass in lawn
November 22, 2006 - Help! I am looking for a way to get rid of coastal bermuda grass in my yard, short of all out toxic chemical warfare. Is there any thing that can be used other than herbicides. Thanks.
view the full question and answer

Elimination of bermuda grass from St. Augustine lawn
January 04, 2005 - Dear Mr.Smarty Plants, I am so frustrated with the bermuda grass mixed with St. Augustine grass. I have tried Ortho-B-gone but it did not work. Is there any measure to kill the Bermuda grass but not...
view the full question and answer

Smarty Plants's Facebook profile Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.

Mr. Smarty Plants wants you to be his Facebook friend. Click the Facebook icon to add yourself to Mr. Smarty Plants list of friends.
E-NEWSLETTER | BECOME A MEMBER | DONATE NOW | MEDIA | SITEMAP | STAFF
© 2015 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center