Weeds: Ryegrass, annual (Italian ryegrass) – Lolium perenne ssp. multiflorum

categories: Pr-Sc Weeds

revision date: 2024-06-22 11:00

  • Family: Poaceae (Graminae)
  • Cycle: Annual
  • Plant type: Grass
Ryegrass spikelets.
Ryegrass spikelets
Photo by: T.W. Miller


Annual ryegrass is upright, growing in clumps often reaching four feet tall. The flat leaf blades are shiny and about 1/8 to 1/4 inch wide. The veins are prominent, making the blades appear ridged. The ligule, occurring at the point where the leaf blade joins the leaf sheath, is short and membranous. Claw-like appendages (auricles) often clasp the stem near the base of the leaf blade. Seeds are borne in spikelets on long (to twelve inches), flat spikes at the tops of the stems. A related species, perennial ryegrass (L. perenne ssp. perenne) is commonly used in turf, but annual ryegrass is not recommended for lawn seed mixtures, as it tends to persist and is unattractive in the established lawns.


Annual ryegrass may be found on roadsides and is a major weed in cultivated areas. It is sometimes included in pasture and lawn seed mixtures as a cover crop for temporary turf.

Management Options

Use Integrated Pest Management (IPM) for successful plant problem management.

Non-chemical Management

Select non-chemical management options as your first choice!

  • Maintaining a healthy planting or turf area to provide competition will prevent weed establishment.
  • Cultivation (rototilling or hoeing) will effectively eliminate plants.
  • Hand-pull to eliminate weeds.
  • Careful digging is useful to manage weed populations. However, digging can carry undesirable weed seed to the surface and foster further germination.

Chemical Management

IMPORTANT: Visit Home and Garden Fact Sheets for more information on using pesticides.

  • Read the label for application timing of the products listed.
  • Glyphosate products should be applied as spot treatments only!
  • NOTE: Some ingredients listed here are only available in combination.
  • Read the label carefully on combination products to make sure the product is suitable for your specific situation.

Landscape areas

  • dichlobenil
  • fluazifop
  • glyphosate
  • oryzalin
  • products containing benefin
  • products containing diquat
  • sethoxydim
  • trifluralin

Turf areas

  • No products approved for use in turf.

Bare ground areas

  • dichlobenil
  • glyphosate
  • products containing diquat

Additional Images