Many of us begin to overseed our warm season lawns during the fall season before the onset of winter temperatures. This allows cool season grass seed such as ryegrass, bluegrass or fescue to germinate in time before warm season grass goes dormant during the winter. As a result, warm season home lawns stay green and lush all winter long. In fact, there are many different methods you can take to keep your lawn green during the winter.
This year, the country as a whole is experiencing a shortage of grass seed due to a reduction in grass seed yields in Oregon during a very dry spring followed by the warm month of June. Seed yields were reduced to as much as 50 percent on perennial ryegrass and fescues causing a nationwide grass seed shortage and an increase in seed prices everywhere. Some of us may even have difficulties locating grass seed in stores.
The use of annual and perennial ryegrass seed for overseeding warm season lawns during the winter months as means of keeping your lawn from looking brown is nothing new. Most of us can drive around our neighborhood and spot at least one home that’s overseeded their lawn with this finer-bladed, bright green grass. However, this may become harder to spot as it becomes more difficult to obtain cool season grass seed. Below are a few coping strategies for the seed shortage and alternatives to overseeding with perennial ryegrass seed.
Alternative Strategy #1: Use Less Seed
This may not be the perfect answer, but it’s a rational one given the circumstances. When you go to overseed with perennial ryegrass or fescue this year, adjust your broadcast or drop spreader’s settings to apply less seed per square foot. Your lawn won’t be as lush this year, but it beats being completely brown when the warm season grass goes dormant.
Alternative Strategy #2: Use Annual Ryegrass Seed Instead (Or Blends)
Instead of using 100 percent perennial ryegrass seed, use annual ryegrass seed or a blend of the two. Options like this exist and will keep your lawn green for the short term. Take a look at some of our suggested products below or click here to learn more about the differences between annual and perennial ryegrass seed.
Alternative Strategy #3: Use Lawnifi Elite Bluegrass Seed or Lawnifi Elite Fescue Seed
That’s right. If you’re having a hard time locating perennial ryegrass seed or fescue seed, be sure to check out our Lawnifi product line of fertilizer-coated bluegrass and fescue. Each 20 lb. bag of seed creates a beautifully colored, dense, tough surface of cool season grass seed. Follow application instructions on the product label.
A really easy and inexpensive solution is to use turf colorant instead. Applying a turf colorant to your dormant lawn will not damage or harm it. Turf colorant can be applied at anytime, but its purpose is to help you maintain winter color during these cold months of the year. This can be done anytime after your warm season turfgrass has entered dormancy. Turf colorants like Endurant should be mixed in a handheld garden sprayer for small and average-sized lawns or a backpack sprayer for larger lawn areas. For more information on using turf colorant as a way to maintain winter color in warm season lawns, click here.
Alternative Strategy #5: Perform Regular Fall and Winter Maintenance
This option may not guarantee a green lawn all winter long. Depending on your geographic location, there’s not a lot you can do to keep your lawn from going dormant as this protects it from cold winter temperatures. However, here is a list of a few things you can do to keep your lawn looking as green as possible:
Not having the appropriate amount of grass seed that you originally planned to have or not being able to find the right grass seed at all can be a major inconvenience this year. We hope these tips will help you continue to maintain a green lawn despite the nationwide seed shortage. Who knows—you may even find an option you like better.