The time is approaching for those of you who have a desire or need for your Southern lawn to be green throughout the winter. Seeding should be done when soil temperatures reach around 70 degrees. As a general rulethat will occur around the middle of October for much of Mississippi.
The turf species of preference for winter overseeding warm season turf species lawns should be perennial ryegrass. Perennial ryegrasses are much finer textured than annual ryegrass cultivars, generally have much better color throughout the winter, are not as prone to clumpiness, and do not produce as many unsightly seed stalks in the spring.
Seeding rate for home lawns with perennial ryegrass should be 8-10 pounds per thousand square feet. If you opt for the less expensive, but also much less desirable annual ryegrass, increase this by another 2 pounds.
Good reasons for winter overseeding lawns in Mississippi are rather limited. The first is the need to provide some type of ground cover for a new home site where it is too late in the fall to establish a permanent lawn. Another may be that you have had your permanent lawn damaged in some way that it will be vulnerable to additional winter injury if not overseeded. And lastly you must have a green lawn all year. This is a somewhat questionable good reason as overseeding strong healthy permanent lawns with cool season grasses will delay spring green-up and can possibly thin the permanent turf.
Published October 4, 2010
Dr. Wayne Wells is an Extension Professor and Turfgrass Specialist. His mailing address is Department of Plant and Soil Sciences, Mail Stop 9555, Mississippi State, MS 39762. firstname.lastname@example.org