, ,

Can You Mix Tall Fescue and Ryegrass?

Two great-looking grass options, but do they play well together?

Sean Stratton | Updated April 21, 2023
Fescue and Ryegrass

Are you thinking of mixing Fescue and Ryegrass? Ryegrass germinates faster, and fescues require low maintenance. Both types of grass will look amazing in the yard.

Can you mix tall fescue and ryegrass? Yes, you can mix tall fescue and ryegrass. Ryegrass will take less time to germinate and establish. Hence, it will serve as a nurse grass and allow fescue to grow alongside it.

However, simply mixing these grasses is not enough to achieve a lush green lawn. There are many other things you need to know before getting started with this duo. That’s why, in this article, we are going in-depth to give you some more useful info about these grasses.

Tips for Mixing Tall Fescue and Ryegrass

Combining tall fescue and ryegrass gives us the drought-tolerant and wear-resistant properties we want. Here are my top tips for getting the best results:

  1. Prepare your soil: Achieve successful seed germination and establishment by removing any weeds, debris, or old grass. Use a soil test kit to check the pH level and nutrient content, adjusting as necessary. The Luster Leaf rapitest is my go-to soil test kit for accurate results.
  2. Even seed distribution: Use a broadcast spreader to distribute the seed mix evenly across your prepared soil. This gets you optimal coverage and avoids patches of uneven growth. I use the Scotts EdgeGuard Mini because it’s the most affordable I’ve found and is very convenient.
  3. Apply Starter Fertilizer: Another way to boost germination and establishment further is by applying a starter fertilizer. Choose a product that is specifically formulated for new lawns, such as Scotts Starter Food for New Grass.
  4. Water Regularly: Water your newly seeded area consistently to keep the soil consistently moist, but not overly saturated. You can use a soil moisture meter, like the XLUX Soil Moisture Meter, to help monitor levels and avoid overwatering.
  5. Mow at the Right Height: Once the grass reaches a height of 3-4 inches, begin mowing to get your dense, healthy turf. I recommend maintaining a mowing height of about 2-2.5 inches for this mix.
  6. Regular Maintenance: Now you need to fertilize regularly and apply weed and pest control products as needed.

What Grass Mixes Well with Ryegrass?

There are many types of ryegrass; annual, perennial, wild, winter, Italian ryegrass, and more. Among them, perennial ryegrass comes with a lot of advantages.

This grass germinates and establishes quickly. Since it establishes quickly, it can provide protection and shade to other lawn grass species like Kentucky bluegrass.

On the other hand, annual ryegrass works better with centipede grass, while perennial ryegrass may not work with it as nicely as annual ryegrass. Plus, you can grow fescue with ryegrass. If you mix them in the right amount, they will do great as well.

Next Read: Learn More about Fertilizer Spikes

Perennial Ryegrass vs Tall Fescue

Perennial Ryegrass and Tall Fescue are both popular cool-season grasses used for lawns, landscaping, and sports fields.

Perennial Ryegrass has a finer texture and quicker germination. Tall Fescue has a coarser texture and greater heat tolerance. Perennial Ryegrass is a good choice for overseeding warm-season lawns or establishing a temporary lawn. Tall Fescue is good for permanent lawns in cooler climates.

Perennial Ryegrass requires more frequent watering and mowing than Tall Fescue, which is more drought-tolerant and requires less maintenance.


The first thing we can compare between these grasses is their appearance.

  • Perennial ryegrass: It has a bright green color which will make one fall in love with it. Plus, it has smooth and fine blades, which makes it a great choice for decorating the lawn.
  • Tall fescue: The color is typically darker compared to ryegrass. The blades are coarse.

Germination and Growth:

  • Perennial ryegrass: This grass germinates and establishes quickly. It germinates and grows so quickly that it can provide shade to other nearby grass species.
  • Tall fescue: Tall fescue is a slow grower compared to perennial ryegrass.

Texture and Resistance:

  • Perennial ryegrass: It has a medium texture and for lawns, perennial ryegrass is somewhat delicate. If you have playful kids or pets, this grass may not be the best option for your lawn. For example, pet urine can create dead patches on the grass if it is not diluted well. So, if you have pets, you might want to avoid this grass.
  • Tall fescue: Unlike perennial ryegrass, tall fescues are tough and have a coarse texture, and they can withstand heavy traffic. This grass can be commonly seen in tracks, baseball fields, etc.

Environment Preferences:

  • Perennial ryegrass: This grass prefers well-drained, dry soil. You should keep the pH level from 5.5 to 7.5, not more than that. It requires an average amount of water. It loves sunlight.
  • Tall fescue: This grass loves rich soil that contains a lot of clay. It loves shady areas. The soil pH and watering needs are the same as perennial ryegrass.


  • Perennial ryegrass: In cooler seasons, mowing your perennial ryegrass only once a week is quite enough. However, at the height of hot summer, mowing twice a month is sufficient. You should keep the grass about two inches in height.
  • Tall fescue: The mowing routine for tall fescue is quite the same. When the season is nice and cool, you can shorten the grass to about two inches.  However, when the temperature rises to more than 80 degrees Fahrenheit, you can shorten it to three inches.

These are the basic differences between the two grass types. You can recheck the difference before selecting one as your primary lawn grass.

An excellent video guide:

Will Tall Fescue Choke Out Ryegrass?

If you are mixing tall fescue with annual ryegrass, it shouldn’t be a problem. Annual ryegrass will grow quickly and after the growing season, it will die off.

However, perennial ryegrass may cause some trouble. That’s why you can take proper measures earlier. Like we said before, while mixing tall fescue and ryegrass, the percentage of ryegrass should not exceed 40%.

Final Thoughts

Ryegrass and tall fescue, both are amazing grass. Both have some advantages over the other. If you want the goodness of both, you can mix them in the proper amount and enjoy a lawn with two beautiful grass types.

In this guide, we talked about mixing ryegrass with tall fescue to help you achieve a lush green lawn with two wonderful grass species. So, keep the information in mind before making a mix of grass seeds.

Written by Sean Stratton

Sean Stratton

Hi, I'm Sean, the senior editor here at Fertilizer Pick. I grew up on a farm in North Carolina and have grown fruits, vegetables, and trees since childhood. While I no longer live on a farm today, I still enjoy spending time on my garden and sharing my knowledge with friends and fellow garden enthusiasts.