Keep Your Lawn Green this Winter

overseeding southern lawn

During the late Fall and Winter, southern grasses enter into a protective state called dormancy. Dormancy is a positive, self-preservation mechanism for grasses. It is a time of slow growth, less water needs, less fertilization needs, and less maintenance overall. However, dormancy is also a time when grasses lose their lush green color and adopt a dreary brown leaf blade. This is perfectly normal, but many homeowners miss their attractive green lawns during the cooler seasons and, therefore, search for ways to have a green lawn year-round. This is possible! By overseeding your yard with a cool season grass, you will effectively be able to keep your lawn green this Winter!


What is Overseeding?

Overseeding is the practice of spreading a temporary grass seed over an existing lawn. Cool season grasses thrive in cooler temperatures, when warm season grasses such as St. Augustine, Centipede, Zoysia, and Bermuda enter into dormancy. Therefore, cool season grasses, such as Ryegrass, are used to overseed southern lawns during the Winter. Overseeding with Ryegrass provides a green Winter cover over your dormant, permanent lawn. Once Winter is over, and as temperatures begin to rise above 70­­°F consistently, the Ryegrass will die out- just in time, as your existing lawn beings to green up for Spring.

overseed ryegrass lawn


Annual Ryegrass is an excellent choice when overseeding your warm season grass for the Winter. Ryegrass has many favorable characteristics for a Winter turf including the following:

  • Fast seed germination that provides for rapid establishment of Winter turf
  • Adapts well to sunny or shaded conditions
  • Provides for dense, attractive green cover when seeded heavily
  • Performs well in a wide variety of soil types
  • Provides for short term cover during the Winter and dies off on its own as temperatures rise during the Spring
  • Very affordable option to maintain a green lawn year-round

Gulf Kist Sod of Pensacola stocks Oregon Grown Premium Quality Ryegrass Seed in 50lb bags. Each bag covers up to 10,000 sqft. We also carry this product at our affiliated Woerner Turf & Landscape Supply locations in Mobile, AL and Baton Rouge, LA.

ryegrass seed overseeding

How to Overseed

  1. Rake lawn thoroughly and remove debris
  2. Mow the grass to a low height and bag the clippings
  3. Using a spreader, spread the seed onto the existing grass. A good practice is to rake the ground with a stiff broom to make sure the seed has made contact with the soil.
  4. Water once or twice a day until the seeds have germinated. After the first two weeks, gradually cut back on watering until it is on an as-needed basis- approximately once every 10 days.

Maintenance of Your Winter Lawn

It is important to understand that once your Winter turf is established, maintenance will be required. Just as your permanent lawn actively grows during the warm seasons, your Winter turf will be actively growing during the cooler temperature months. Therefore, you should begin your mowing regime when the Winter grass reaches around 1 to 2 inches tall. After the second mowing, a complete fertilizer such as 15-0-15 should be applied to keep your Winter grass a dark green color.

Overwatering and over fertilizing can make your Winter grass extremely susceptible to a disease called Pythium root rot. A fungicide should be applied to the lawn at the first signs of root rot as this disease can kill the entire Winter lawn within two days.

Transitioning Back to Your Permanent Lawn

  • Discontinue fertilization of the Winter grass sometime between the beginning and end of March.
  • Water infrequently with the idea in mind that you are only do so for your permanent lawn, not catering to your Winter grass anymore.

These practices will discourage the growth of the Winter grass, which will normally die out as temperatures begin to consistently stay above 70°F in the Spring. Your permanent lawn will begin actively growing again around this same time and you should then resume your normal lawn maintenance.

Overseeding has always been a common practice at golf courses, but is becoming more and more popular amongst homeowners. Due to the affordability of seed and the relatively easy manner of seeding, overseeding is a great choice for homeowners wishing to maintain a green lawn during the Winter!


For questions regarding Overseeding Your Lawn this Winter, please contact us at:

Gulf Kist Sod:                                                          
PHONE:  850-858-TURF (8873)                                             



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