Tennessee state outlinePicture of a patch of sod in Tennessee

The Ultimate Guide to
Sod Installation in Tennessee

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

transition zone

So, to sum up, Tennessee's climate is a green light for a range of grasses that are well equipped to stand up to the warm temperatures and occasional dry spells. Whatever your lawn goals in Tennessee, you're sure to find a grass variety that can weather whatever the state's climate has to offer.


Tennessee, with its humid subtropical climate, serves up sizzling summers and winters that keep things mild. It's an ideal spot for warm-season grasses that love to soak up the sun.

These grasses lap up the heat and stand up well to the climate Tennessee offers. If you're looking to lay some turf in Tennessee, the warm months of the year are your friend - think late spring stretching through to early fall.

At this time, the soil is warm and likely to be moist, providing the perfect nursery for your grass to develop a robust root system. Tennessee is a big fan of warm-season grasses, with its grass zone favoring varieties that can handle hot summers and aren't phased by the odd drought that the state can experience.

So, to sum up, Tennessee's climate is a green light for a range of grasses that are well equipped to stand up to the warm temperatures and occasional dry spells. Whatever your lawn goals in Tennessee, you're sure to find a grass variety that can weather whatever the state's climate has to offer.

What are the best sod types for TN?

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

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

While it's possible to grow grasses meant for other regions with proper care, attention and timing, these are the most common grasses in Tennessee for residential lawns.

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Recommended species for shade

Alright, let's talk grass. You got some shade in your yard? In the great state of Tennessee, that can actually be a good thing. We're tackling those shaded areas that need a little bit of green love. Because let's face it, not every corner of your yard gets the same amount of sunlight - we get it.

You want to know the best sod for shade here in TN? Start with Fine Fescue. This friendly grass is like a shade lover. Bright sunlight isn't its thing, but put it in that shadowy spot under the tree? It's a happy camper. 4 hours of sunlight each day? That's plenty for Fine Fescue.

Zoysia Grass is another contender. Zoysia needs a little more sun - we're talking about 5-6 hours daily. But this hardy grass handles shade like a pro. Plus, it'll give you that lush, full look you’re striving for.

Now, let’s not forget about St. Augustine. This guy is a heat lover but still does pretty well in shady areas. With 6 hours of sunshine a day, St. Augustine can thrive. It's got a high tolerance for humidity too, perfect for those sweaty Tennessee summers.

But, the real game-changer here is the Tall Fescue. This grass has a knack for resilience, whether it's heat, cold, drought, or shade. Tall Fescue handles it all with grace. It needs a good 4-5 hours of sun each day, but beyond that, it’s not picky. So, if you've got a yard that's got a mix of sun and shade, this is your guy.

Remember, every lawn has its unique conditions and needs. So we say, mix and match. Test the waters, watch that grass grow, and soon enough, you'll have a green oasis even in the most shaded areas of your lawn. It's all about finding a balance - a lawn harmony, if you will. And once you do, you're one step closer to creating the perfect Tennessee landscape.

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

Recommended for full sun or partial sun

When selecting sod for your lawn, it's crucial to consider the amount of sunlight the area receives. Grass varieties have different sun exposure requirements to thrive and maintain their health and appearance. Understanding whether your lawn area gets full sun or partial sun will help you choose the right sod variety.

Below are some sod options recommended for either full sun or partial sun conditions in TN:

Grass TypeSunGood to Know
BermudaFullBermuda grass thrives in full sun and is known for its drought tolerance and ability to withstand high temperatures.
ZoysiaFullZoysia grass prefers full sun but can tolerate some shade. It is known for its dense turf and resistance to pests and diseases.
St. AugustinePartialSt. Augustine grass performs well in partial sun and is valued for its ability to establish quickly and provide a thick, green lawn.
Tall FescuePartialTall Fescue is adaptable to a range of conditions, including partial sun, and is known for its deep root system and tolerance to drought.

What varieties stay green year-round?

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 Tennessee as well as any microclimates that may exist.

The following grasses have the ability to stay green year round in Tennessee:

Grass TypeCaveats
BermudaIt typically goes dormant and turns brown after a few hard frosts in the fall and stays that way until temperatures consistently hit the 60s in the spring.
ZoysiaIt can stay green nearly year-round in milder climates without severe winter freezes or overly high summer temperatures.
St. AugustineIt can stay green almost year round, but will go dormant and turn brown during cool-season months in colder regions.
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.

What is the best time to lay sod in Tennessee?

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

Find reputable companies for installing sod in TN

Here are the top problems you'll face when trying to get sod installed by a landscaping company:

  1. They're hard to get ahold of on the phone or you'll reach out online but won't hear back.
  2. It's hard to pin them down for a specific date. Because you can only bring sod from the farm when there's decent weather, this causes some delays at times. It also has a short shelf life, so it's important to get it installed within a day or two of delivery.
  3. They're not transparent about pricing. You'll often get a quote that's way higher than you'd expect.

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