Maine state outlinePicture of a patch of sod in Maine

Maine Sod Guide

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

cool season

So, that's the turf tale of Maine. A bit chilly, a bit mild, but always the perfect home for cool-season grasses that are up for the challenge. Lay it in late summer or early fall, and watch your Maine lawn come to life.”


Maine has a humid continental climate with cold winters and mild summers. This means that the state experiences a wide range of temperatures throughout the year. The climate in Maine affects the types of grass that are best grown there. Grasses that can withstand cold temperatures and have a shorter growing season are best suited for Maine's climate.

The best time to lay grass in Maine is during the late summer or early fall. This is because the temperatures are cooler and there is more moisture in the soil, which helps the grass to establish its roots. Laying grass during the spring or summer can be more difficult because the soil tends to be drier and the temperatures can be too hot for the grass to grow properly. Maine, my friends, is the land of winter chills and summer thrills.

We're talking the full spectrum of temperatures. Cold enough to freeze your breath in the winter, and mild enough to kick back and enjoy a lobster roll in the summer. The turf to match this climate? Grasses that can brush off the chill and race through a short growing season.

In Maine, you roll out your lawn between the dog days of late summer and early fall. That's when the weather's cool, the soil's thirsty, and the grass is ready to sink its roots in deep. Sure, you could try laying grass in the spring or summer, but be warned - Maine's soil can get a little parched, and the temperatures might have your grass sweating. Remember, Maine sits squarely in the cool-season grass zone.

Which grasses grow best in Maine?

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

Maine, 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 Maine:

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 Maine for residential lawns.

What is the best time to lay sod in Maine?

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 Maine

First things first, we get it - finding the perfect grass species for your shady Maine lawn can feel like searching for a needle in a haystack. Luckily, we've done the hard work for you.

The golden child of shade-tolerant grass in Maine is Fine Fescue. It's the closest thing you'll get to a grass that thrives in shade. You see, most grasses require at least four hours of direct sunlight per day. However, Fine Fescue can survive on almost half that! That's why it's our top pick for your shady lawn.

Next up, we've got the tough-as-nails Kentucky Bluegrass. Don't let the name fool you, this grass is as green as you can get. It's not as shade-tolerant as Fine Fescue but compensates with its resilience. Even in tough conditions, with roughly 4-6 hours of sunlight, this grass bounces back from wear and tear.

St. Augustine Grass might seem like an oddball choice. It's well-suited to warmer climates but it's an outside-the-box option for those tricky, shadowy parts in your yard. You'll need more patience with this one, though. It needs at least 6 hours of sunlight and can be slow to establish. But it's worth the wait for its beautiful, extensive carpeting effect.

Last but not least, Perennial Ryegrass. It's fast-growing and can endure chilly Maine winters. A solid choice if you're looking for speedy ground coverage.

Mix them, match them, or pick the one that tickles your fancy. But remember, these aren't Miracle-Gro. They'll need some TLC to thrive! Follow the recommended hours of sunlight and don't forget the fertilizers.

Navigating the shadowy world of grass in Maine doesn't need to be a Herculean task. Now, you're equipped to make an informed choice. Make your neighbours green with envy! Up next, we'll tackle grass maintenance – because your lawn is only as good as its upkeep. Stay tuned...

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

What grasses stay green year-round in Maine?

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 Maine:

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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