Alaska state outlinePicture of a patch of sod in Alaska

Alaska Sod Guide

In this article we'll explore the optimal sod varieties for Alaska. We'll also delve into their associated costs and the ideal times for laying to ensure growth.

cool season

While it's certainly a challenge to grow grass in Alaska due to the unforgiving climate, careful selection of grass varieties and strategic timing can help establish a vibrant, healthy lawn.


Alaska's subarctic climate is predominantly cold and arid, creating a unique challenge for growing grass as not all varieties can cope with such low temperatures and dry conditions.

Alaska's grass zone is somewhat limited, making it crucial to opt for grass types that are acclimated to this challenging climate to ensure their successful growth.

The prime time for laying grass in Alaska is during the summer.

This period provides the warmth and extended daylight the grass needs to settle in before the chillier fall and winter temperatures arrive.

Which grasses grow best in Alaska?

In the world of landscaping, not all grasses are created equal. Each thrives in a specific climate zone: cool, warm, or transition.

A geographical map highlighting Alaska located in the cool season region of the United States
Alaska is a cool season state and falls in the region higlighted above

Alaska, with its cool season climate, prefers a particular set of grasses that relish the lower temperatures. The following grasses are the easiest to grow and maintain in Alaska:

Tall FescueCool-season grass, shade-tolerant, deep-rooted, ideal for lawns, pastures, and sports fields in cooler climates. The price per square foot for Tall Fescue generally ranges from $0.60 to $0.85 per square foot.
Kentucky BluegrassCool-season grass, lush green, fine texture, good for lawns, golf courses, and sports fields in cooler regions. The price per square foot for Kentucky Bluegrass generally ranges from $0.35 to $0.70 per square foot.
Perennial RyegrassCool-season grass, fast-growing, excellent wear resistance, often used for overseeding, ideal for lawns and sports fields. The price per square foot for Perennial Ryegrass generally ranges from $0.30 to $0.65 per square foot.
Fine FescueCool-season grass, shade-tolerant, fine texture, low maintenance, ideal for low-traffic lawns and erosion control. The price per square foot for Fine Fescue generally ranges from $0.45 to $0.75 per square foot.

While it's possible to grow grasses meant for other regions with proper care, attention and timing, these are the most common grasses in Alaska for residential lawns.

What is the best time to lay sod in Alaska?

Since it is considered a cool-season location, the ideal time to lay sod is in early spring or early fall. These periods offer moderate temperatures, leading to less stress on the sod and providing optimal conditions for root establishment before extreme temperatures of winter or summer. Avoid the summer, as high heat can stress the sod.

As you can see in the image below, you'll notice the most shoot growth (the grass above ground) and root growth in the spring and fall for cool season grases:

A graph showing the growth of cool season grasses throughout the year
Plant cool-season grasses during the Spring and Fall for best results

Best Grasses for Shade in Alaska

Hey, fellow green thumbs! Let's get straight to it.

In the northern coolness of Alaska, finding the right grass for shady spots might seem like a wild goose chase. Don't sweat it! We've got your back.

The top pick? Fine Fescue. This cool-season grass thrives in Alaska's climate. It's also shade-tolerant. Perfect combo, right? Fine Fescue doesn't need to bask in the sun all day. It can do well with four to six hours of sunlight, unlike many sun-loving sods.

Next on our list is Kentucky Bluegrass. While it loves sun, it can tolerate moderate shade too. It's pretty resilient and well-suited for Alaska’s cooler temps, and it requires around six hours of sunlight.

Meanwhile, Perennial Ryegrass is our wildcard pick. Although it's not a shade-lover, it's adaptable. Given Alaska's long summer days, it comes through, even in partial shade.

An honorable mention is Poa Supina shade grass. It's a shade ninja, surviving in areas others might not. Though not as popular as our top picks, it's worth a shot in deep shade spots.

Remember, though, grass isn't a "plant-it-and-forget-it" deal. Proper care is key: timely watering, correct mowing height, and appropriate fertilizing. It's a little TLC that goes a long way.

That said, we're here to help you make your lawn the talk of the town - in a good way, of course! So, let’s get our hands dirty and turn your shady spots into lush, vibrant patches. Keep on sodding, Alaska!

A picture of a shade tree over a lawn in Alaska
Shade tree over a lawn in Alaska

What grasses stay green year-round in Alaska?

As with anything agriculture related, there is some nuance to this question. There are many grasses that can stay green year round in but it depends heavily on your location within the state as well as any microclimates that may exist.

The following grasses have the ability to stay green year round in Alaska:

Grass TypeCaveats
Tall FescueIt typically stays green throughout the year in milder climates, given that it isn't overly stressed by heat or drought in the summer.
Kentucky BluegrassIt can retain its green color for much of the year when well-maintained, though harsh winter temperatures can push it towards dormancy and a browner hue.
Perennial RyegrassIt can stay vibrant and green throughout the year in many climates, unless conditions are extremely cold or dry.
Fine FescueIt keeps its green color throughout the year in ideal conditions. If the winters are particularly harsh, it may lose some color.

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