To Rye or Not to Rye

canva green grass background

As fall (hopefully) finds its way to our region, your property’s landscaping needs change. In addition to planning fall color changes, many of our clients want to find ways to maintain a healthy lawn during the cooler months by planting ryegrass. 

Ryegrass is not native to the southern U.S. It’s a grass that thrives in cooler climates and originated in Oregon. Several decades ago, golf courses discovered that planting ryegrass in October could keep their fairways looking green and lush in the fall and winter months. Commercial properties soon followed, and ryegrass became a popular cool weather option for businesses who want (or need) green grass in all seasons. 

Earthworks is here to help you keep your property looking its best all year round. While we do offer ryegrass as a fall / winter lawn option, there are a few caveats you need to keep in mind before installing it. 

Soil Impact

As with everything in life, there is a consequence to having a year-round green lawn. Rye grass takes the same space that your summer Bermuda grass needs, and it will ultimately weaken your summer grass and allow for weed penetration. While you will have a green lawn, the quality of the soil and summer grasses will be compromised. 

City Ordinance 

Some Dallas suburbs, such as Plano and Frisco, have banned ryegrass. More and more cities are implementing ryegrass ordinances as a result of the environmental concerns such as unnecessary water usage, and increased cost to plant and maintain a non-native grass.

If your city no longer allows ryegrass, you can repurpose that portion of your lawn care budget to other services such as xeriscaping, outdoor living spaces, or smart irrigation features – all of these implementations will help lower water costs while beautifying and improving your property long term. If you want short-term beautification that can make a great visual impact, consider an extra color change.

Overall Cost 

Rye grass is cost-intensive, both in terms of up-front costs and ongoing winter expenses. In addition to the cost of installation (which varies depending on the size of your property), you’ll also need to budget for mowing and watering throughout the winter. Ryegrass it requires intensive watering. Dormant grasses require watering about once per week, but if you are using ryegrass, you’ll need to continue watering your property’s lawn about 4 – 5 times per week.


The biggest drawback to planting ryegrass is that you won’t be able to use pre-emergents in your fall lawn care. Pre-emergents kill existing weeds and put down a microscopic barrier that stops seeds from germinating. Because pre-emergents would kill ryegrass before it germinates, they cannot be used. This leads to the potential for more weeds in the spring.

Final Thoughts 

The best time to plant ryegrass is September 15 – October 31. If you’re considering ryegrass as part of your cool weather beautification plan, it’s best to let us know now so we can plan your fall lawn care accordingly. 

There is a time a place for ryegrass. Consider all the benefits and challenges before deciding whether to install ryegrass, and know that if and when you do need it, your Earthworks professionals are ready and waiting. 


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