Lately I’ve received several requests from homeowners for information on overseeding their lawns with winter rye grass seed. My reply to these individuals was why? Because we have warm season turf varieties, as the weather turns cooler, our lawns (except for weeds), typically slow down or stop growing. Depending on the severity of the cold weather, your lawn typically turn straw colored. Many, especially those from up north, like to keep their lawns green, so they overseed it. Unfortunately, many of those that do, apply too much seed, which after it germinates, can severely impact your warm season lawn next spring; as both it and the rye grass will be competing for the same nutrients. Shortly thereafter as our temperatures rise, the ryegrass dies out. Typically we mow our lawns 44 times a year, so why continue this during the winter months by overseeding; it’s not needed.
For those diehards who insist on overseeding, I recommend that you put down a maximum of 2 pounds of rye seed per 1,000 sq ft; and expect to resume weekly mowing in 2-3 weeks.
And one final thought, if your lawn has areas where the ground is bare, or where it may be subject to erosion, rye seed can be used, but only as a temporary fix until a permanent solution to your problem can be made.