Planting new grass requires research to guarantee you are picking the right type of grass for your lawn in Chicago. Not all grass is the same. Certain grasses grow better in different climates and location. Chicago area residents also need to take into consideration the characteristics of their yard. A yard that receives full sunlight needs a different type of grass than a resident with shady areas.
The Best Grass Types for Chicagoland Residents
1. Kentucky Bluegrass
One of the most popular grasses for northern Illinois is Kentucky bluegrass. It has an appealing look and hardiness that homeowners love. Also, it has the ability to fill-in damaged parts without needing to reseed. However, it does require a higher level of maintenance. You can’t forget to fertilizer, water, and mow your grass!
Kentucky bluegrass requires full sun, but it can tolerate some shade at times. If you have more shade in your yard, mix it with fine fescue. This grass is more winter-hardy than other types, which is another reason why it is the best choice. It will take time to establish the grass by seed, typically one to three months.
2. Tall Fescue
Tall fescue is ideal for low-maintenance areas. It can handle soil that is low in nutrients and handles problems with pests and diseases well. Tall fescue germinates quickly, but not as fast perennial ryegrass. You will find that tall fescue tolerates foot traffic well. Also, the deep rooting system means it tolerates drought well.
3. Fine Fescue
Another choice for Chicago area residents is fine fescues. Red, hard, and chewings fescues are popular in Illinois. This grass type requires less maintenance, and it adjusts easier to shade. This grass tolerates shade, poor soil quality, and lower pH levels. Fine fescue prefers well-draining soil.
Homeowners love that the maintenance required is low, and fine fescue tolerates foot traffic well. It doesn’t require as much fertilizer as other grass types. You might find that it declines in full sun if you like to mow frequently or if you apply fertilizer too often.
Fine fescues do well when blended with Kentucky bluegrass. You can plant it alone, but mixed is more popular. Creeping red is the most popular to plant alone because of its texture. Hard and chewing fescues do great when combined with other varieties for increased shade in lawns.
4. Perennial Ryegrass
No one wants to wait for ages for the seed to establish, which is why perennial ryegrass is popular. Establishing in your yard is quick. The quick germination time for perennial ryegrass works well when mixed with the slower Kentucky bluegrass. This grass type tolerates foot traffic well.
Experts recommend that you mix perennial ryegrass with other types into a lawn seed mixture. It is not completely cold hardy in the Chicago area, so you might find that it fades in your yard over time. That will result in a thin turf.
The only negative about perennial ryegrass is that it does require moderate to high maintenance. If you don’t like to maintain your grass, perennial ryegrass may not be the type for you.
Mix Grass Species
In the Chicago area, many homeowners prefer to mix grass species because a diverse lawn is less likely to experience disease injury. Also, it will adapt to different growing conditions.
Consider mixing Kentucky Bluegrass, Fine Fescue, and Perennial Ryegrass. You want Kentucky Bluegrass to be the dominant species in the mixture.
When to Plant Grass Seed in Chicago?
The best time to plant grass seed in the Chicago area is between August 15 and October 1. This time frame provides warm soils, cool temperatures, and frequent rainfall that creates the perfect environment for seed germination. While the spring might seem like a good time to plant grass, you’ll find that the seed