Plant certified seed or at least clean your bin-run seed prior to planting. These are relatively inexpensive ways to keep your ryegrass infestations confined to specific fields and minimize spread to non-infested fields. Over the past 30 years, we have seen many fields that became infested with ryegrass from “bin-run” wheat seed that had not been cleaned prior to planting.  

Clean harvesting equipment

Harvesting equipment should be cleaned before moving from infested fields to minimize the spread of ryegrass seed. It would be best to harvest the ryegrass infested fields last.  

Plant ryegrass infested fields late

Ryegrass seed begins to germinate in the fall as soil temperatures cool, and rainfall returns to the region. But not all ryegrass is created equal. Improved ryegrass varieties developed and introduced annually for forage production germinate more uniformly than the native ryegrass (often referred to as “feral” ryegrass) that has evolved from the earliest plantings in the region.

Feral ryegrass populations exhibit greater dormancy and have plants that germinate later in the growing season. We used Gulf ryegrass for comparison because the feral ryegrass populations we see today likely evolved from the Gulf introductions of the 1950s. The following table illustrates this phenomenon.

Since the highest percentage of feral ryegrass seedlings emerged late in this study, it stands to reason that late tillage will destroy more of these seedlings.