How can I control ryegrass?

By Grant Woods,

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Do you have any suggestions on fighting wild ryegrass in food plots? I am currently implementing a strategy but wanted to get your input as my efforts have been only mildly successful. I have plots planted in annual clovers and wheat that have infestations of wild ryegrass. It was brought into the plots years ago by a friend of mine using his bushhog without blowing it off between jobs. In the past two to three years it has gotten so bad that it seems to “poison” the ground causing anything planted with it, with the exception of clovers, to die by first frost. Wheat will not survive, nor brassicas. My strategy, beginning last year, was to spray the plots in February killing everything before the ryegrass could seed. Obviously there are lots of old seed in the seedbed as I got it back again this year. Now I have plots with ryegrass and beautiful stands of arrowleaf and crimson clovers. I would like to let the clovers go to seed but am certain doing so would allow too much time for the ryegrass to re-seed as well. Thinking best to go another year or two sacrificing my clovers earlier. Your thoughts?



Ryegrass can be a significant problem!   You are probably correct in assuming there’s a ryegrass seed base there that can cause problems for years.  A relatively easy way to control the ryegrass is to plant Roundup Ready soybeans.  This will allow you to spray the plot multiple times with glyphosate and terminate the ryegrass as it germinates throughout the growing season.  Leave the beans standing and overseed the plot with a cool season blend and then plant Roundup Ready soybeans again the following year.

When ryegrass stops germinating you can go back to planting clover if you wish.

You can also try using a grass-specific herbicide but it’s very tough to control ryegrass with these products once a ryegrass seed base is established.

Enjoy creation,


January 8, 2016