In a mild winter, even the old standby varieties of annual ryegrass will make it through to spring in the Midwest.
But in a harsh winter, those same varieties of annual ryegrass will die in the severe weather, freezing and thawing, stiff winds and little to no snow.
But over the past 20 years, seed growers in Oregon have developed varieties that are hardier in the winter. Not to say that annual ryegrass is bullet proof, but there are a half dozen varieties that significantly outperform the older varieties that are still popular in the south for sports arenas, golf courses and lawns.
Check out this seed source publication before you commit to your seed purchase this year. Oregon growers are knowledgeable and friendly. Many have spent tons of time and money developing these varieties of annual ryegrass, and they’re pleased to talk about it.