Grass – Mixing Fescue and Rye

Q: I supervise building dozens of houses each fall and winter. We are required to have almost total coverage by lawn grass prior to receiving our Certificate of Occupancy. We typically sod the front yards and put down a mixture of annual rye and fescue for the rear yards. Is it advisable to mix fescue and rye?

A: Turf expert Clint Waltz says when soil temperatures are above 55 degrees and conducive for germination, there is no need to mix fescue with ryegrass. In December, January, and early February, when soil temperatures are much cooler, it might be reasonable to mix the seeds. The ryegrass would germinate and establish quicker than fescue, serving as a nurse grass. If they are mixed, don’t exceed 40% ryegrass. Two pounds of ryegrass plus three pounds of fescue equals the recommended five pounds of seed per 1000 square feet.