Ohio state outlinePicture of a patch of sod in Ohio

Ohio Sod Guide

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

transition zone

Pick grass that can take the heat, literally and figuratively, swinging from those sizzling Ohio summers to the freezing winters with grace.


If you're thinking about laying some fresh green turf in Ohio, here's the scoop. Ohio's got that hot-summer-cold-winter dance going on, courtesy of its humid subtropical climate. This means you need grass that can sweat through the summer and freeze through the winter.

Perfect time to break ground? Try late summer or early fall. Your new grass gets a chance to settle in and stretch its roots before winter's chill sets in.

But hey, if you miss the fall train, spring's got your back! Ohio lives in Grass Zone 5. And what does that mean for your lawn?

Well, you're dealing with a fairly short growing season and some pretty frosty winters. So, you need to pick some real troopers, grasses that can take whatever Mother Nature dishes out, be it drought or a downpour. All in all, if you're in the market for new turf in Ohio, remember, it's all about the climate.

Which grasses grow best in Ohio?

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 Ohio located in the transition zone region of the United States
Ohio is a transition zone state and falls in the region higlighted above

Ohio, with its transition zone climate, prefers a particular set of grasses that relish the a wide range of temperatures. The following grasses are the easiest to grow and maintain in Ohio:

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 Ohio for residential lawns.

What is the best time to lay sod in Ohio?

For transition zones, consider the type of sod. For warm season grasses, aim for late spring. This gives them a full summer to establish before winter. For cool season grasses, fall is best, allowing roots to develop in mild temperatures. Whichever you pick, avoid extremes of summer and winter. So, late spring for warm grasses, fall for cool ones, and skip the severe seasons.

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 and during the summer for warm season grasses:

A graph showing the growth of cool season grasses throughout the year
Plant cool-season grasses during the Spring and Fall for best results
A graph showing the growth of warm season grasses throughout the year
Plant warm-season grasses in the late Spring, early Summer for best results

Best Grasses for Shade in Ohio

Alright, welcome to the shade club! Looking for the best grasses for shaded areas in Ohio? Pull up a seat, you're in the right place. We're about to unload some knowledge.

Fist up, Kentucky Bluegrass. Diva of the shade, this beauty craves the limelight – well, sunlight, around 4 hours a day. But still, it's a chill champ when it comes to cooler areas in your yard.

Mow it to around 3.5 inches and your lawn will look like the Augusta National in no time.

Next on deck, we got Fine Fescue. Like that one friend who's cool with everything, Fine Fescue handles partial shade like a pro. You're looking at a minimum 4 hours of filtered sunlight for this lad. Plus, it pairs well with other grass varieties to create a solid lawn community.

And let's not forget, Tall Fescue. Not a fan of full sun, this type of grass has the ability to keep itself hydrated even in deeply shaded areas. A solid 4-6 hours of dappled or indirect sunlight daily and this water-wise warrior is good to roll!

Finally, say hello to perennial ryegrass. Known for its quick germination and growth, this fast and furious champ can also handle a good level of shade. All it demands is about 6 hours of sunlight, even if it’s filtered. Remember, a happy ryegrass is a watered ryegrass!

Remember, these aren't just grasses - these are resilient plants that turn your shadows into showpieces! So go ahead, and sod it up. Your shady lawn never looked so good. Let's make the neighbors jealous, shall we? Ready for the next section? Good, because there's more gold coming your way.

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

What grasses stay green year-round in Ohio?

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 Ohio:

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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Cities in Ohio