Kill it Good…Annual Ryegrass is Your Friend until it Isn’t

Farmers have been successfully controlling annual ryegrass, as a cover crop in the Midwest, for more than 20 years. If somebody tells you “it’s a weed,” tell them politely, “Yes, I know, and it’s possible to control it if you know what you’re doing!”

Click here for our website page on successfully taking care of annual ryegrass in the spring.

Click here for our publication on  Annual Ryegrass management Recommendations (2016 version)


Here are a few tips from those online sources:

  • Don’t let annual ryegrass stay around too long in the spring: kill it before the “joint” stage when the grass is between 4 and 8 inches tall. By now, the grass is active, so watch it carefully to optimize herbicide effectiveness
  • Wait for the right weather: daytime temps above 55 consistently; no rain, preferably spray earlier in the day to allow for maximum uptake by the plant before sundown and cooler temps
  • Use the right sprayer: don’t use a sprayer with coarse droplets
  • USE THE RATE LISTED ON THE LABEL. Don’t scrimp here. You don’t want the herbicide to fail, then have to battle annual ryegrass that comes back with more tolerance.
  • Spray again if you see any lingering color after a week. Use another herbicide with a different mode of action
  • Getting the pH of the water right is important: add ammonium sulfate with a surfactant to the water BEFORE adding the glyphosate to the tank.
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