Arizona state outlinePicture of a patch of sod in Arizona

Arizona Sod Guide

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

warm season

Overall, growing grass in Arizona can be challenging due to the extreme climate, but with the right timing and selection of grass type, it is possible to have a beautiful and healthy lawn.


Arizona has a hot desert climate with long, hot summers and mild winters. This climate affects the types of grass that are best grown there because the hot temperatures and low humidity make it difficult for many types of grass to thrive.

The best time to lay grass in Arizona is during the cooler months, typically between October and April. This is because the cooler temperatures and higher humidity during this time of year provide optimal conditions for grass to establish its roots and grow.

Arizona falls within the warm-season grass zone, which means that warm-season grasses are best suited for this climate. These types of grasses are able to tolerate the hot temperatures and low humidity of the desert climate.

Overall, growing grass in Arizona can be challenging due to the extreme climate, but with the right timing and selection of grass type, it is possible to have a beautiful and healthy lawn.

Which grasses grow best in Arizona?

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 Arizona located in the warm season region of the United States
Arizona is a warm season state and falls in the region higlighted above

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

BermudaWarm-season grass, drought-tolerant, dense turf, ideal for lawns, golf courses, and sports fields. The price per square foot for Bermuda generally ranges from $0.35 to $0.65 per square foot.
BuffaloLow-maintenance, warm-season grass, drought-tolerant, thin bladed, suited for low-traffic areas. The price per square foot for Buffalo generally ranges from $0.55 to $0.80 per square foot.
ZoysiaWarm-season grass, slow-growing, dense turf, good for lawns, golf courses, and sports fields. The price per square foot for Zoysia generally ranges from $0.55 to $0.90 per square foot.
St. AugustineWarm-season grass, shade-tolerant, thick carpet-like turf, ideal for lawns in southern coastal regions. The price per square foot for St. Augustine generally ranges from $0.50 to $0.90 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 Arizona for residential lawns.

What is the best time to lay sod in Arizona?

In a warm-season location, lay sod in late spring or early summer. This timing is ideal as the warmer temperatures and longer days will promote quick root establishment and growth. Avoid laying sod in the cooler months as the grass will likely enter dormancy, slowing down the root establishment process. So, for success, stick to late spring or early summer when it's 75 to 90 degrees out.

As you can see in the image below, you'll notice the most shoot growth (the grass above ground) and root growth during the summer for warm season grasses:

A graph showing the growth of warm season grasses throughout the year
Plant warm-season grasses in the late Spring, early Summer for best results

Best Grasses for Shade in Arizona

Color us excited, because we've got premium sod choices that aren't going to shy away from the shade in sunny Arizona. Let's dive in.

Fescue’s the talk of the town when it comes to shade tolerance. This cool season grass pulls off a balancing act between Arizona’s scorching sun and shadowy spots. It hankers for around 4 to 6 hours of sunlight per day.

Keep in mind, though, even with Arizona’s winter sunshine, its overall cool temps need a heartier brand of fescue: enter Tall Fescue. Its deep roots crank up the drought tolerance, but, a word of caution, too much shade and even this grass superhero will struggle.

In the mood for something a bit more exotic? Our buddy St. Augustine boasts a luxurious thick bladed turf with high shade-tolerance. Our Arizona sunlight doesn’t seem to faze it. Less than 3 hours of mottled sunlight is perfectly fine for this sod, deeming it excellent in full or partial shade. But, and it's a big one, St. Augustine isn't a fan of the colder months. Keep it cozy.

Fine Fescue may not thrill with its name, but when it comes to shade, it's got game. Its delight in 4 hours of filtered sunlight makes it a true grass connoisseur. Word around the water sprinkler is that it withstands cold better than Tall Fescue. Cultivate with care though, because this grass doesn't love foot traffic.

Still want more choices? Kentucky Bluegrass waltzes in. While thirstier than most, boasting a high resistance to wear and tear and favoring a good 3 hours of filtered light makes it worth the extra drink.

Remember, even shade-loving grass varieties need some sunlight to photosynthesize and keep their growth engines humming.

There's no shortage of sod for shade in Arizona. We've got grasses that'll moonwalk through the shade. Choose wisely, water religiously, and you'll enjoy lush, verdant greenery all year round. Ain't that a sight for sore eyes?

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

What grasses stay green year-round in Arizona?

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 Arizona:

Grass TypeCaveats
BermudaIt typically goes dormant and turns brown after a few hard frosts in the fall and stays that way until temperatures consistently hit the 60s in the spring.
ZoysiaIt can stay green nearly year-round in milder climates without severe winter freezes or overly high summer temperatures.
St. AugustineIt can stay green almost year round, but will go dormant and turn brown during cool-season months in colder regions.

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