Question on planting cool season grass on pond dam


New Member
I have a newly constructed pond dam I want to plant in cool season grasses to help with erosion control and allow me to mow a couple times a year.

Any suggestions as to what type?

I am trying to avoid deer food so it doesn't end up competing with my foodplots nearby.
If you want at lest some wildlife benefit, I'd look for a tetraploid ryegrass. Personally, I would seed it with Winter Rye, Ryegrass, and perennial clover. Winter Rye is quite tolerant of infertility and is relatively fast and can develop a deep root system for initial stabilization but it is an annual and won't last. The Ryegrass and perennial clover would work well for the long term. You could even add chicory. Chicory has a deep root system and is drought tolerant.

I would avoid all fescue as it has no wildlife benefit and has a negative effect. I would let the Winter Rye head-out next spring and wait till summer for the first mowing.
Since you don’t want it competing with your nearby foodplot, I can’t think of anything better than KY 31 fescue. Nothing else I know of will prevent erosion on a slope any better. You could consider adding some annual rye with the fescue. It will germinate and take hold a little quicker but will disappear once the fescue takes hold.
One more thing - on a pond bank it’s good to use straw and netting over the seed to help protect from a gulley washer that might come before the grass gets established. I did this on my pond bank and it was easy and inexpensive. My dad and I put it down in just a few minutes. We got the netting and landscape staples at a local hardware store. You see this done frequently along highways to prevent erosion where they are doing work on a steep bank. There is a type of netting that just rots away over time or you can take it up later. Same thing with the staples.
I find fescue to be one of the worst non-native invasive species. I can't imagine food plot competition to be any real issue. I think more about other species like quail, turkey, and such where fescue is problematic for chicks. I tend to think in terms of improving habitat for wildlife in general in all aspects of habitat management. Without turf, over time many beneficial weeds and pollinator support plants will emerge.

But, different folks will take different appraochaes.
I seeded annual rye grain and then just let it grow up in weeds. If I wanted a cleaner look I and would plant red clover as its tough, has a nice longevity, and won't compete with food plots during the hunting season. KY 31 would be my choice if I was willing to plant a cool season grass, but I can't bring myself to seed it on my property given my efforts to eliminate it in other areas. I should qualify this answer in that I know little to nothing about pond dam integrity.