Perennial ryegrass (Lolium perenne)-Hort Answers - University of Illinois Extension
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University of Illinois Extension

Hort Answers


Perennial ryegrass
Lolium perenne

Perennial ryegrass (Lolium perenne)
Perennial ryegrass (Lolium perenne)
Life Cycle and Growth Habit
Cool-season perennial with bunch-type growth habit. 
Regional Adaptation
Cool humid
Cool semiarid
Well-drained, moist, slightly acidic to neutral (pH of 6.0 to 7.0), fertile soils; full sun; avoid temperature extremes; lacks tolerance to excessive heat, cold, and drought.


Light Requirements
Requires full sunlight
Best Suited for These Uses/Sites
Generally used with Kentucky bluegrass for home lawns, commercial sites, and other areas requiring attractive turf; perennial ryegrass is also used on golf course fairways, tees, and rough areas, and in other athletic settings because of its wear tolerance, appearance, and rapid germination; large quantities are used to overseed dormant warm season turfgrasses in the southern U. S. each winter. Good soil compaction tolerance.


Moderate to high depending on cultivar, use, and environment; mow frequently (depending on use), normal lawn heights are 2 to 3 inches; supply 2 to 4 pounds of nitrogen per 1,000 sq. ft.per growing season; supply 1 to 1 1/2 inches of water per week during the growing season to maintain green and active growth; thatch is not a major problem due to bunch-type growth habit; most cultivars are susceptible to diseases.


Seeding (7-9 pounds per 1000 sq.ft.).



Refer to the National Turfgrass Evaluation Program (NTEP) website ( for additional varieties and performance data atvarious locations. Look for trial sites and maintenance levels most similar to your own.

Old non-turf types: Pelo, Norlea, Linn

Improved types: Gator, Tara, Palmer, Prelude, Yorktown, Elka, Barry, Pennfine, Manhattan, Manhattan II, Derby, Regal, Fiesta, Blazer.


Pests and Problems
Additional Notes

Can be difficult to mow; less heat, cold and drought tolerance than Kentucky bluegrass. Rarely used alone; usually combined with Kentucky bluegrass in full sun or with Kentucky bluegrass and fine fescue in shady areas; good tolerance to soil compaction; very good for overseeding and renovation; germinates rapidly and strongly; aggressive germination and establishment may out compete other species when planted in a mix; endophytic types available that possess enhanced resistance to some insect pests and improved tolerance to environmental stresses.


Related Resources
General Lawn Maintenance
Home, Yard & Garden Pest Guide
Illinois Commercial Landscape and Turfgrass Pest Management Handbook
U of IL - Distance Diagnosis through Digital Imaging
U of IL - Plant Clinic