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A cool season turf, Perennial Ryegrass is a popular choice of grass in cooler climates the world over. It’s a beautiful addition to any suitable backyard, with a rich, dark green blade, and a great tolerance to shade.

While it can certainly be used as a standalone variety, the benefits of Perennial Ryegrass really come to the fore when used as a companion grass to other varieties. Through years of experimentation, lawn owners have realised that by combining more than one grass seed in a mix when planting, you can get your lawn to adapt to harsher and more varied conditions. Whether it be surviving heavy shade or direct sun, dry spells or heavy rain, combining two or more seeds with different strengths will counteract out the weaknesses of the varieties.

The Cons

As a standalone variety, Perennial Ryegrass does have a few marks in the cons column. Being a cool season grass it can start to struggle during warmer months, and does get particularly thirsty through spring and summer. A heavy watering schedule over these months is advised to keep your lawn looking healthy.

Perennial Ryegrass also requires regular fertilisation, and ideally a bi-monthly spread of a high quality fertiliser should be applied.

It is a fast grower, and will need to be regularly mowed over the fast growing period of spring/early summer. You want to aim for the blade length to be within the 6 to 12cm range, which may mean a weekly mow at this time of year.

Unfortunately, on top of the high maintenance that is required to keep Perennial Ryegrass in order, it is also fairly susceptible to pests and diseases, and close attention needs to be paid to any potential outbreaks.

The Pros

While Perennial is widely known to be a relatively high maintenance lawn with some obvious weaknesses, it continues to be a popular choice around the globe. Why? Because it has some qualities that no other variety can match.

A rare quality in any sort of plant-life, Perennial Ryegrass has excellent tolerance to the shade. Where other lawns will form browned-off patches under trees or structures, Perennial will continue to grow without a care in the world.

It is also excellent at dealing with harsh winter conditions, with the ability to survive heavy frosts and bleak weather with ease.

On top of these pluses, it also looks great. Traditionally a deep green colour, if you keep it happy and healthy it will be an absolute treat to look at.

As a Companion Grass

This mix of strengths and weaknesses make Perennial Ryegrass an obvious choice as a companion grass in many situations.

As most areas of Australia are home to climates suited to warm season grasses, if a harsher-than-average winter rolls through it can have your turf in a bit of a state. By adding Perennial Ryegrass to the mix, you can have it taking over during the winter months, before going dormant and letting the warm season grass take over in the summer months. Whether added in at the moment of seeding, or over-seeding onto already established turf, this can be a way to ensure you have a year-round healthy looking garden.

Mckay’s offer options in both a stand-alone Perennial and a blended Perennial.

For a pure Perennial Ryegrass that is as hard as nails, McKays’ Regenerating Perennial Ryegrass (RPR) is just the ticket. Designed to develop its own ‘pseudo-stolons’ – creeping stems – it bounces back from wear and tear amazingly. The ability to withstand both heavy use and harsh conditions make it a dream for both turf managers and homeowners alike.

For a cost effective option to kick-start your backyard blitz, McKays’ Ryegrass Blend is a quick establishing and budget friendly way to go. A mix of Annual and Perennial Ryegrass with a touch of Creeping Red Fescue thrown in, this blend is designed to stay green all year round in Australia’s more temperate climates.

If you’re interested in how Perennial Ryegrass may be a sharp addition to your backyard, consult your local McKays seed specialist.