Michigan state outlinePicture of a patch of sod in Michigan

Michigan Sod Guide

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

cool season

Overall, it's important to choose grasses that are well-suited for Michigan's climate and growing conditions. With proper care and maintenance, a healthy and beautiful lawn can be achieved in this state.


Michigan has a humid continental climate, which means that the summers are warm and humid while the winters are cold and snowy. This climate affects the types of grass that can be grown there, as some grasses may not be able to tolerate extreme temperatures or moisture levels.

The grass zone in Michigan varies depending on the region, but it generally falls into the cool-season grass zone. This means that grasses that thrive in cooler temperatures, like perennial ryegrass or Kentucky bluegrass, are the best options for this state.

The best time to lay grass in Michigan is during the cooler seasons of spring or fall, as this is when the temperatures and moisture levels are ideal for grass growth. Laying grass during the summer may be more difficult due to the heat and increased water demands.

Overall, it's important to choose grasses that are well-suited for Michigan's climate and growing conditions. With proper care and maintenance, a healthy and beautiful lawn can be achieved in this state.

Which grasses grow best in Michigan?

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

Michigan, 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 Michigan:

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 Michigan for residential lawns.

What is the best time to lay sod in Michigan?

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 Michigan

Alright fellow Michiganders, we all know our state isn't always the sunniest, hence the importance of selecting the right shade-tolerant grass for our lawns. So, here are the champion contenders in the realm of shade-friendly sod.

First on our list is Fine Fescue. Known for its dark green, fine-bladed appearance, this cool-season grass tolerates shade like a champ. It only needs about 4 hours of partial sunlight, making it a perfect candidate for those densely wooded home landscapes.

Next up, we've got the hardy Kentucky Bluegrass. It's an industry favourite because, let's be honest, it's the Tom Brady of turf grass. This guy loves the chill of Michigan winters and tolerates moderate shade. It requires about 6 hours of sunlight a day, so if your lawn is semi-shaded, Kentucky Bluegrass is your go-to.

Now, let's talk about Tall Fescue. This bad boy's known for its deep roots and tolerance of droughts. Its claim to fame in the shade department isn't as strong as Fine Fescue, but if you're giving it about 4-6 hours of sunlight a day, it'll stick with you through thick and thin.

But maybe you're thinking, "I want a grass that's different, unique." Well, we've got you covered. Rye Grass can be your wildcard. Maybe you think of rye just for bread, but its grass cousin has some interesting qualities. Although it loves sun, it can still hold its own in shade with about 5-6 hours of light. It's got a beautiful, rich, green color that'll have your neighbors green with envy.

At the end of the day, successfully growing a lush, green lawn in Michigan's shady areas boils down to the balance between the right type of grass and its light requirements. Stay tuned as we dive deeper into each grass type and their specific needs. With us, you're one step closer to achieving that gorgeous lawn you always wanted!

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

What grasses stay green year-round in Michigan?

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 Michigan:

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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Neighboring States

Cities in Michigan