New Jersey state outlinePicture of a patch of sod in New Jersey

New Jersey Sod Guide

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

cool season

Overall, growing grass in New Jersey can be a challenge, but with the right grass species and proper maintenance, it is possible to have a lush, healthy lawn.


New Jersey has a humid subtropical climate, which means it has hot, humid summers and cool to cold winters. This climate affects the types of grass that are best grown there because it requires a grass species that can tolerate both extremes of temperature.

The best time to lay grass in New Jersey is during the late summer to early fall when the soil is still warm but the temperatures have started to cool down. This allows the grass to take root and establish itself before the winter months.

New Jersey is located in the grass zone known as the transition zone. This zone is characterized by its unpredictable climate, with hot summers and cold winters.

The transition zone is known for its challenging growing conditions, as it is not quite warm enough for warm-season grasses and not quite cool enough for cool-season grasses. Therefore, it is important to choose a grass species that can tolerate the fluctuating temperatures of this zone.

Which grasses grow best in New Jersey?

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

New Jersey, 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 New Jersey:

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 New Jersey for residential lawns.

What is the best time to lay sod in New Jersey?

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 New Jersey

All right, grass fanatics of New Jersey! When it comes to growing a luxurious carpet of lawn in shaded areas, we don't mess around. We've got things to do, places to be, and we don't have the time for a subpar, patchy lawn.Rule numero uno: you're dealing with shade, dance with it. Not every grass type is cut out for the shadow life, but we've got the ones that are.First up, welcome Fescue to the stage. Tall Fescue and Fine Fescue, I'm looking at you. These cool-season grasses can roll with less sunlight - three to four hours a day, and they're golden. Literally. All they need is a few measly hours for photosynthesis, and then they’re off and running to shade cover superstar status. They love New Jersey’s cold winters as much as we do, proving their toughness through the chill.Next, let's salute Kentucky bluegrass. While it generally enjoys sunbathing, certain varieties like 'Nuglade' and 'Glide' can thrive in reduced light. We're talking about four to five hours of sunlight a day, so these divas need a bit more compared to the humble Fescue. A worthwhile trade-off when you see the stunning blue-green hue it gives.Last but not least, say hello to perennial ryegrass. An adaptable performer, it powwows with the shade like a charm. If you maintain it with a good overseeding regimen, you've won half the battle. Just remember, it needs between four to six hours of sunlight a day to maintain that beautiful rich green mop-top.Keep in mind, even these tough-as-nails grasses won't turn your shadow patch into a day-glo green vista overnight. But given time and proper care, they'll show their true colors. We guarantee it. So, New Jersey-lites, suit up! It's time to get your sod on.

A picture of a shade tree over a lawn in New Jersey
Shade tree over a lawn in New Jersey

What grasses stay green year-round in New Jersey?

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 New Jersey:

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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