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Need advice on overseeding with Rye

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  • Need advice on overseeding with Rye

    I'm thinking about overseeding with Rye this Fall and have a couple questions. I know a bunch of us live in NC so I thought I'd throw this out there.

    Would perennial rye come back year after year or should I just stick with annual rye? (We are in the Triad Area of NC and I had heard that its too warm for the perennial)

    How long would the rye last/how hearty is it? Are we talking weeks/couple months throughout the winter or is it likely my three horses will mow it down immediately and make the effort to overseed worthless? (Planning to feed hay but would love to have some grass during the winter)

    Pastures are currently mixed grasses. This summer we added bermuda to the bare spots in an effort to reduce erosion.

  • #2
    No such thing as perrenial rye here. It'll die off in hot weather, and needs seeds to come back. I use Marshall Rye seeded the third week in September if possible. We've found it cuts our hay consumption in half through the winter.

    I remember asking a young Extension Agent this question 35 years ago. He said we would have to let perrenial rye go to seed to come back the next year. He was right....sort of.

    If you have over an acre per horse, it should last until Bermuda starts to green up next spring. There will be cold months when it won't grow any, but grows again when the ground warms up and it gets water. It dies off when it gets hot enough for Bermuda.


    • #3
      I thought perennial rye was bad for horses anyway... causes 'ryegrass staggers'?

      Thanks for the nudge, I *really* need to get my soil tests done and figure out what's going on out there in my postage stamp of a pasture! I overseeded with rye last year and... meh. It just didn't grow that well.
      ... and Patrick


      • #4
        Yeah, I wouldn't do perennial rye for horses even if it would do well here - staggers is a real concern.

        When did you overseed last year wsmoak? How thick was the existing pasture?
        The CoTH CYA - please consult w/your veterinarian under any and all circumstances. - ET


        • Original Poster

          Thanks! I hadn't heard of any issues with perennial rye. I'll go look that up.

          I'll be on the look out for Marshall Rye. I think so far I've found Gulf rye or something like that.

          Haven't purchased anything yet, was just thinking about it, so I could be ready when the time is right. All the rain we got this week has me thinking about grass seed. Something I never thought about all those years I was boarding. Having them at home certainly changes your perspective on horse care.


          • #6
            Management after planting makes a big difference in overall yield too. If you seed it and then remove the horses for a while as the rye is coming up, it will have a better chance. Otherwise, the horses may keep nipping off the young shoots when it first germinates and the grass may eventually give up and die off before it really gets going. (Depending upon how much acreage they have access to!)

            There's (cereal) rye and then there's ryegrass. Make sure you know which one you're getting.... the seeding rates are different. Ryegrass tends to have a major growth spurt in late spring and can possibly shade out and delay your permanent warm season grasses if left too tall too late in the spring, whereas rye will make more of a push in the early spring and then start to peter out.
            "Farming looks mighty easy when your plow is a pencil, and you're a thousand miles from the corn field." --Dwight D Eisenhower

            Boston Terrier Rescue of NC - www.btrnc.org - Adopt for Life!