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How to Manage Pests

The UC Guide to Healthy Lawns

Annual ryegrass — Lolium multiflorum

Photo of annual ryegrass

Illustration of collar of annual ryegrass
Collar of annual ryegrass

Illustration of annual ryegrass
Overall plant structure of annual ryegrass


Annual ryegrass is a cool-season grass well adapted to sunny conditions and moderate temperatures. Also known as Italian ryegrass or wintergrass, it is often sown at high rates to overseed warm-season turfgrasses for fall, winter, and early spring color or to provide temporary cover for soil stabilization. It is not otherwise used for turf. Annual ryegrass dies in the late spring to early summer. It often turns yellow and dies before warm-season grasses come out of dormancy.

Identifying tips

A coarse, shiny lime-green grass. Leaves are rolled in the bud and long, narrow claw-like auricles are present. Annual ryegrass is a bunchgrass with an upright growth habit and shallow roots.


Moderate to high maintenance. Annual ryegrass has low tolerance for drought, shade, and extreme high and low temperatures. It is only moderately wear resistant.

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