Idaho state outlinePicture of a patch of sod in Idaho

Idaho Sod Guide

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

cool season

It's important to note that grasses may require different levels of maintenance, such as watering, fertilizing, and mowing, depending on the grass zone and type. Overall, understanding the grass zone and climate in Idaho is important for choosing the best grass to grow in a particular area, as well as knowing when to plant and how to properly maintain it.


Idaho's climate is classified as continental, which means it can experience hot summers and cold winters. The state is also divided into several grass zones, which are determined by factors like elevation, temperature, and precipitation.

These factors can greatly affect the types of grass that thrive in certain areas. For example, in the warmer and drier southern part of the state, grasses that are more drought-tolerant may be better suited.

In the cooler and more humid northern parts of the state, grasses that can handle colder temperatures and more moisture may be more successful. The best time to lay grass in Idaho will depend on the specific grass zone and the type of grass being planted.

Generally, it's recommended to plant cool-season grasses in the early spring or late summer. Warm-season grasses are best planted in late spring or early summer when the soil and air temperatures are warmer.

Which grasses grow best in Idaho?

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 Idaho located in the cool season region of the United States
Idaho is a cool season state and falls in the region higlighted above

Idaho, 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 Idaho:

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 Idaho for residential lawns.

What is the best time to lay sod in Idaho?

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 Idaho

Boom! Let's dive into the best grass types for shade in the Gem State, Idaho. We're talking about those green beauties that can thrive with less sunshine, without skimping on lushness or longevity.

First up, we've got Fine Fescue Grass. This is the James Dean of shade-tolerant grasses - cool, resilient, and manages to look stunning even under tough conditions. We’re talking about four to six hours of sunlight per day. Not bad, right?

Now, meet Tall Fescue Grass. It's tougher than a two-dollar steak with deep roots that can suck up more moisture. This means it can handle a bit more sunshine, but it's also robust in the face of drought. Six to eight hours of sun - and it’s a happy camper. Make sure your soil isn’t too acidic though, or you’ll have a sad, yellow Tall Fescue on your hands.

Next, we introduce you to Kentucky Bluegrass. Now this is a bit of a dark horse when it comes to shady spots. While it's a sun-lover at heart, certain varieties like 'Glade' and 'Bensun' have adapted to be shade-friendly. They do need 6-8 hours of filtered light at best, but if your shady area gets that, they could be your new green best friend.

Last but definitely not least, the perennial ryegrass. This one's a warrior. It stands strong in cool temperatures (Idaho winter, anyone?), and can make do with four to six hours of sunlight. It’s pretty popular because of its amazing ability to germinate quickly and provide a quick green cover.

Remember, while these grass varieties are more shade-tolerant, they still need some sun. And don’t forget about good maintenance practices. Proper watering, mowing, and fertilizing can make a big difference.

Excited to green up those shadows now? Choosing a shade-tolerant grass type is just the first step. Let's move on.

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

What grasses stay green year-round in Idaho?

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 Idaho:

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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