All in all, the key to a successful lawn in Illinois lies in picking a grass type that can hold its own against the cold and that meshes well with your specific locale. And when it comes to timing, stick to early spring or early fall when the temperatures are just right and the soil is nicely moist.”
In Illinois, the climate swings between all four seasons, featuring toasty summers and nippy winters. This unique weather pattern determines the kinds of grass that fit right into the Illinois environment - mainly those that can brave the cold and snow.
Situated in the cool-season grass zone, Illinois favors laying grass in early spring or early fall. The cooler temps and moist soil during these periods create a perfect nursery for grass seeds to sprout and grow.
Remember, though, the specifics of your location within the state can sway the ideal grass-laying time and the types of grass that will flourish. For instance, the southern areas may offer a longer growing season and may suit different grass varieties compared to the northern regions.
All in all, the key to a successful lawn in Illinois lies in picking a grass type that can hold its own against the cold and that meshes well with your specific locale. And when it comes to timing, stick to early spring or early fall when the temperatures are just right and the soil is nicely moist.
Which grasses grow best in Illinois?
In the world of landscaping, not all grasses are created equal. Each thrives in a specific climate zone: cool, warm, or transition.
Illinois, 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 Illinois:
While it's possible to grow grasses meant for other regions with proper care, attention and timing, these are the most common grasses in Illinois for residential lawns.
What is the best time to lay sod in Illinois?
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:
Best Grasses for Shade in Illinois
Now, we're diving into shade-friendly grasses in Illinois. This can get tricky, because Illinois doubles up on blazing sunlight in the summer and gloomy skies in the winter. But don't worry, we've got it figured out.
First up, we've got Fine Fescue. This is your new best friend for shade. It stands out in the crowd, because it only needs about 4 hours of sunlight per day. You heard right, only 4. No other grass type or variety in Illinois comes close. And, to top it off, it’s cold-resistant, perfect for Illinois winter.
Next, consider Tall Fescue. Good old Tall Fescue thrives in partial shade and needs around 4-6 hours of sun. It's got that sturdy resilience against heat and drought. Plus, it's cool-season grass, so it doesn't mind the chilly Illinois winters.
Then there's Kentucky Bluegrass. This one's tricky. This bad-boy loves the sun, with a desire of 6-8 hours daily. However, there are varieties like "Glade" and "Touchdown" that can handle some shade. They might not perform as well as Fine or Tall Fescue, but they'll do a decent job.
Finally, let’s talk about Ryegrass. It's a cool-season grass needing about 4-6 hours of sun. In Illinois, Ryegrass is often mixed with Kentucky Bluegrass to offer a good balance of shade tolerance and lush green appearance.
Keep in mind, even with these shade-friendly grasses, pruning your trees allows more light to reach your lawn. Combine it with the right grass, and bask in the green glory of your Illinois lawn.
Next up, we're tackling optimal soil conditions for your chosen grass. Buckle up. It's going to be a fun ride.
What grasses stay green year-round in Illinois?
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 Illinois:
|Tall Fescue||It typically stays green throughout the year in milder climates, given that it isn't overly stressed by heat or drought in the summer.|
|Kentucky Bluegrass||It 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 Ryegrass||It can stay vibrant and green throughout the year in many climates, unless conditions are extremely cold or dry.|
|Fine Fescue||It keeps its green color throughout the year in ideal conditions. If the winters are particularly harsh, it may lose some color.|