Illinois Grass Types

Looking for the optimal grass varieties for lawns in Illinois? Below is a comparison table and accompanying data that will give you information about what grasses are best suited for Illinois and its inner counties.

Note: Cold, heat, drought, and saturation tolerance are measured on a score of 0-5 with 0 being the least tolerant and 5 being the most.

Kentucky Bluegrass

Most suitable grass (on average)

Tall Fescue

2nd most suitable (on average)

Annual Ryegrass

3rd most suitable (on average)

Zoysia Grass

4th most suitable (on average)

Buffalo Grass

Optimal for colder areas

Centipede Grass

Ideal for drought-prone areas

Bahia Grass

Perfect for sunny areas

Lawn Visual
Seasonal Type Cool Cool Cool Warm Warm Warm Warm
Cold Tolerance 4.0 4.0 4.0 2.5 3.5 1.0 1.5
Heat Tolerance 2.5 3.5 2.0 4.0 4.0 4.5 4.5
Drought Tolerance 3.0 3.5 2.5 3.5 5.0 4.0 5.0
Saturation Tolerance 3.0 3.0 4.0 2.0 2.0 4.0 3.5
USDA Zone(s) 1-7 5-8 1-7 6-13 5-9 7-13 4-13
Sun Exposure Mostly Sun, Partial Shade Mostly Sun, Deep Shade Mostly Sun, Deep Shade Full Sun, Partial Shade Full Sun, Deep Shade Full Sun, Light Shade Full Sun, Light Shade
Traffic
Resistance/Recovery
Moderate, Moderate Moderate, Moderate Moderate, Rapid Moderate, Moderate Low, Slow Low, Slow Moderate, Moderate
Watering
Duration/Amount
Weekly, 1-1.5 inches Weekly, 1-1.5 inches Weekly, 1-1.5 inches Weekly, 1 inch Bi-weekly, 0.5 inches Weekly, 1 inch Bi-weekly, 0.5-0.75 inches
Mowing
Duration/Height
Every 5-7 days, 2.5-3.5 inches Every 5-7 days, 2-3.5 inches Every 5-7 days, 1.5-2.5 inches Every 7-10 days, 0.5-1.5 inches Every 10-14 days, 2-3 inches Every 10-14 days, 1-2 inches Every 7-14 days, 2.5-4 inches
Soil Well-drained, Loamy
pH: 6.0-7.0
Adaptable
pH: 5.5-7.5
Adaptable
pH: 5.5-7.5
Well-drained, Loamy
pH: 6.0-7.0
Well-drained, Loamy to Sandy
pH: 6.0-7.5
Sandy, Acidic
pH: 4.5-6.0
Acidic, Sandy
pH: 5.5-6.5
Texture Fine to Medium Coarse Fine Fine to Medium Fine Medium Coarse
Color Rich Green Dark Green Bright Green Light Green Blue-Green Light Green Light Green

Illinois Zones

The interactive map below shows the USDA plant hardiness zones specific to Illinois. Each zone in the map represents a certain temperature range that is critical for plant survival and growth, divided based on the average annual minimum winter temperature. Click on the map to see the optimial grass types for each county.

Zone No. 5 6 7
Map Color
Lowest Avg. Winter Temperature -20° to -10°F -10° to 0°F 0° to 10°F

The chart and table below shows the average monthly precipitation and minimum/maximum temperatures in Illinois over the last 5 years.

Month Min Temp (°F) Max Temp (°F) Prep (in)
Jan18.6 °F34.58 °F2.5"
Feb19.52 °F37.1 °F2.98"
Mar32.34 °F51.76 °F4.05"
Apr38.82 °F60.82 °F3.58"
May53.64 °F74.4 °F5.13"
Jun62.62 °F84.2 °F4.6"
Jul66.04 °F85.92 °F4.47"
Aug63.48 °F84.3 °F3.73"
Sep57.7 °F79.92 °F3.6"
Oct43.76 °F65.54 °F3.98"
Nov31.04 °F49.98 °F2.21"
Dec26.12 °F43.32 °F2.35"

The chart below shows the optimal months for seeding or sodding new grass in Illinois. Suitability for each month is based on the average monthly temperature in Illinois.

May, June, August and September are the most optimal months for planting cool-season grasses in Illinois.

June and July are the most optimal months for planting warm-season grasses in Illinois.

Grass Types by County in Illinois

Below is a list of counties in Illinois. Click on any county to get a more detailed analysis.

Data source and citation

Raw data for the grass characteristics was sourced from the USDA's PLANTS Database.

Data for climate zones in Illinois was gathered from the USDA Plant Hardiness Zone Map as well as GIS datasets from the Oregon State University PRISM Climate Group.

Average monthly temperatures and precipitation data for Illinois was sourced from the NOAA National Centers for Environmental information.

Please use the citation tool below to reference any information found on this page.

  • "Illinois Grass Types". LawnVariety.com. Accessed on July 20, 2024. https://lawnvariety.com/illinois.

  • "Illinois Grass Types". LawnVariety.com, https://lawnvariety.com/illinois. Accessed July 20, 2024

  • Illinois Grass Types. LawnVariety.com. Retrieved from https://lawnvariety.com/illinois.