Types of Lawn Grass in Northern Illinois

Lawn fertilization by Green T
With dozens of varieties of grass available for your lawn, what is the best type of grass for planting in your yard in Northern Illinois?
Your choice of grass type is dependent not just on the climate you live in but also the particular conditions of the area you plan on planting it. Soil type and the amount of sun or shade are important when choosing your variety.
Grasses will also vary in appearance which may come down to a personal choice. They may also need different levels of maintenance which can affect your decision.

For professional seeding and lawn care call (630) 231-0007

Cool Season Grasses
So-called “Cool Season” grasses do best in the northern Illinois climate. These grasses will grow very well in the extended milder seasons of spring and fall, and can go dormant during hot summer months. There are many cool season varieties available but some will do better in the midwest as compared to say ones which would work in the northwest and require more water.

Recommended grasses for Northern Illinois:

  • Kentucky Bluegrass
  • Tall Fescue
  • Fine Fescue
  • Perennial Ryegrass
  • Rough Bluegrass
  • Bentgrass

Best grasses for sun, partial shade and full shade areas

Choose the right grass for the area where you will be planting. If you have a fully exposed grass lawn unblocked by trees or other shadows, you will choose a different grass than you would for under trees and shrubs.
lawn care schedule northern illinois

Best grass varieties for full sun areas

  • Kentucky bluegrass blend
  • Perennial ryegrass
  • Fine fescue blend

Best grass varieties for sun/shade mix areas

  • Kentucky bluegrass
  • Fine fescue blend
  • Tall fescue blend

Best grass for shaded areas

  • Fine fescue blend
  • Rough bluegrass
  • Non-grass options: ground covers, ferns, wildflowers or mulch

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Common Northern Illinois Grasses

Kentucky bluegrass plantKentucky Bluegrass

The most popular and common grass in Illinois is Kentucky Bluegrass.
Most lawn care specialists and homeowners would consider it the best grass for lawns. It is hearty enough to survive winter months and can often spread to fill in patchy areas without reseeding.
It is best for full sun areas but you can mix it with a fine fescue grass for shady areas.

tall fescue grass

Tall Fescue

Another popular cool season grass is Tall Fescue.
It has grass blades that are wider than Kentucky Bluegrass.
Tall Fescue is very drought and heat tolerant and is often used in parks, roadsides, athletic fields and other public areas.
It is a good choice for high traffic areas.
Tall Fescue is not quite as extreme winter tolerant as Kentucky Bluegrass though and may require reseeding in the spring.

Fine Fescue GrassFine Fescue

Fescue grasses that are grown in Illinois include Red Fescue, Hard Fescue and Chewings Fescue.
Fescue grasses are most commonly used in grass blends.
They are frequently mixed with Tall Fescue or Kentucky Bluegrass mixes for lawns that are shaded or partially shaded.

Perennial RyegrassPerennial Ryegrass

This is another popular grass used in blends with Kentucky Bluegrass. It has a pleasing dark color and texture.
It is a fast growing grass that will establish faster than bluegrass and thus can compliment it well.
Perennial Ryegrass is similar in texture to Kentucky Bluegrass and is also heat and drought tolerant.
It can be disease prone and extreme cold intolerant, another reason why it works better as a mix than planted on its own.

Best time to plant grass in Illinois

Autumn is considered the best time to plant the cool season grasses that grow best in northern Illinois.
Related: Lawn Care Schedule for Northern Ilinois
Early spring will also work for planting grass seeds as well. If they don’t get well established though before hot and dry weather you may need to reseed/overseed in the fall.
The key for healthy grass establishment is soil temperatures between 50- 65 degrees and air temperatures range between 60-75 degrees.
We hope you find this information useful while working on your lawns!

For professional help getting a green healthy lawn that is the envy of the neighborhood, call (630) 231-0007

Additional Resources
Wikipedia – SeedlandUniversity of Illinois ExtensionOutside Pride


2018-04-06T16:26:31+00:00 Landscaping, Lawn Care, Uncategorized|