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7 Best Grass Seeds For Illinois

Though lawns originally appeared on the properties of wealthy families in 18th-century France and England, they didn’t become widespread in the U.S. until the 1870s. Nowadays, Illinois is one of many states where lawns are common. The task might initially seem straightforward if you own some land in Illinois and want to cover it in the grass. After all, the grass is grass, right?

However, it’s not that simple. With over 12,000 species of grass worldwide and certain species doing best in specific environments and climates, choosing the right grass seeds can feel like an overwhelming first step. That’s why we’re offering some advice on the best grass seeds for Illinois residents!

Best Grass Seeds For Illinois

1. Best Overall Grass Seed: Kentucky Bluegrass

Despite what its name implies, Kentucky bluegrass is actually native to Europe and Eurasia. European immigrants likely brought Kentucky bluegrass across the Atlantic Ocean and into North America sometime in the 17th century. Since then, it has risen in popularity and become known as one of the best grass seeds for Illinois.

There are good reasons for that. Kentucky bluegrass is prized for its durability, even in rough winters, and its attractively rich bluish or dark green color. If you plant the seeds in spring or fall, when the weather is cool but not freezing, you’ll see them germinate after about three weeks.

First, of course, you must buy the right grass seeds. Dedicated as they are to providing the best grass seeds for Illinois homeowners, stores like Ace Hardware, Home Depot, and Amazon have all made Kentucky bluegrass available on their shelves.


  • Durable
  • Beautiful appearance
  • Grows quickly and evenly
  • Heals well when damaged


  • Requires frequent care, including watering, fertilizing, and mowing
Fine Fescue

2. Best for Busy Life: Fine Fescue

If you lead a hectic life, you may have little time or energy to spare for lawn care. In that case, consider the best grass seed for Illinois residents who need something low-maintenance. The fine fescue could be the perfect option.

Hardy enough to endure extreme temperatures, poor soil quality, low moisture, and frequent foot traffic, this grass works well anyplace in your yard that you expect people or pets to use often. All you have to do is let it grow and avoid mowing it more than once every couple of weeks. Also, once you plant them somewhere between August and October, they’ll germinate within eight days.

You’ll find these grass seeds at Ace Hardware and Home Depot, or you can order them from Amazon.


  • Hardy
  • Low maintenance
  • Eco-friendly
  • Soft texture
  • Disease-resistant


  • It tends to grow in tufts or thatches, so it’s best when mixed with other seeds
  • Less tolerant of foot traffic
Tall Fescue

3. Best for Warmer Climates: Tall Fescue

The climate in the southern side of the state tends to be warmer than the north. The best grass seed for Illinois homeowners in the south is probably the tall fescue. Thanks to its deep roots, tall fescue boasts a high tolerance for hot temperatures and drought. It’s also tough enough to withstand consistent foot traffic.

Mid-August is usually an excellent time to plant these seeds. After that, wait up to three weeks for them to germinate.

Walmart, Home Depot, and Ace Hardware sell tall fescue grass seeds if you want them. Alternatively, look for them on Amazon.


  • Heat-tolerant
  • Drought-resistant
  • Soft texture
  • Disease-resistant


  • Tends to grow in tufts or thatches, so it’s best when mixed with other seeds
  • Low tolerance for shade
  • Considered invasive and disruptive to other plant species

4. Best for Shaded Areas: Red Fescue

Some grasses grow poorly in the shade, but others thrive in it. You may appreciate that red fescue is among the best grass seeds for Illinois if you have a property shaded by trees and still want a lush green lawn. Cool temperatures help this type of grass to grow, and the sunlight is likely to damage it.

Plant red fescue grass seeds in fall or spring, which will take about two or three weeks to germinate. After that, water it only once a week and fertilize it once a year.

While you can find the seeds at several online retailers, including Amazon, it’s available at Home Depot, Ace Hardware, and Walmart.


  • Grows well in shade
  • Moderately drought tolerant
  • Low maintenance


  • Becomes damaged in sunlight
  • Considered invasive and disruptive to other plant species
Perennial Ryegrass

5. Best for Quick Results: Perennial Ryegrass

Like Kentucky bluegrass, perennial ryegrass boasts durability and a high tolerance for foot traffic. However, perennial ryegrass grows faster–often germinating within ten days at the most–so if you need to fill empty patches or replace dead grass quickly, this is one of the best grass seeds for Illinois properties. Since it also looks similar to Kentucky bluegrass, they’re perfect for mixing.

Although this grass can do well if planted in early spring, early fall is even better. That way, there’s plenty of time for the seeds to establish solid roots and blades before summer.

Due to its status as one of the best grass seeds for Illinois, perennial ryegrass is easy to find at stores like Ace Hardware and Home Depot. You can order it from Amazon as well.


  • Durable
  • Disease-resistant
  • Heat-tolerant


  • Requires consistent care and maintenance
  • May die in shaded areas or if exposed to water, wind, or freezing temperatures
Zoysia Grass

6. Best for Fine Turf: Zoysia Grass

When you live in a warmer climate like Illinois, you must make extra efforts to prevent erosion and regulate the surrounding temperatures. The zoysia turf variety is one of the best grass seeds for Illinois if you want to make that happen. The blades are notably small and delicate, almost fluffy, and it remains in good condition if you mow and water them only once a week.

Zoysia grass seeds need around two or three weeks to germinate, so spring is ideal, although you can plant it in summer. Either way, the ample sunlight, and higher temperatures will help it grow as quickly as possible.

Because its usefulness is restricted mainly to warm climates, zoysia grass can be difficult to find locally. However, knowing that it’s among the best grass seeds for Illinois, some Home Depot locations on the southern side offer it. The seeds are available on Amazon, too.


  • Heat-tolerant
  • Reduces runoff and erosion
  • Low maintenance
  • Disease-resistant
  • Tolerant of foot traffic


  • Considered invasive and disruptive to other plant species
  • Only moderate cold tolerance
Rough Bluegrass

7. Best for Cool Moisture: Rough Bluegrass

The northern region of Illinois sees much more precipitation than its southern counterpart, especially the closer you get to the coast of Lake Michigan. Chicago is a perfect example.

In such areas, rough bluegrass is one of the best grass seeds for Illinois homeowners who want a dependable solution for a healthy lawn. This grass grows beautifully in the rain, moisture, and cool temperatures, and the smooth, shiny blades enhance your lawn’s attractiveness.

Plant rough bluegrass in the early spring or fall to best encourage its aesthetic benefits. It should only take about ten days to germinate.

The grass seeds may be available at Home Depot or Ace Hardware. It’s harder to find online, but retailers like Outside Pride offer it.


  • Grows well in wet climates
  • Soft texture
  • Glossy appearance


  • Susceptible to drought and disease
  • Low tolerance for foot traffic

Benefits of Grass

Any of these types could be regarded as the best grass seeds for Illinois for different reasons, but no matter which one you buy, there are certain benefits you can expect from planting it. Like other plants, they help clean the air, filter soil, prevent erosion, control water runoff, and regulate outdoor temperatures. By absorbing sounds, they even reduce noise pollution.

When mowed regularly, the blades discourage pests from wandering around your property, knowing they’re easily visible. Short blades also tame fires by providing less material to burn.

Of course, there are also social benefits to consider. Though trees and gardens make your property beautiful and valuable, grass creates spaces where you can comfortably walk or rest. With any of the best grass seeds for Illinois, homeowners like you can set up furniture, lay out picnic blankets, build playgrounds, install stepping stones, and do a myriad of other things that help you enjoy your surroundings.

push lawn mower

Basic Grass Maintenance

Every grass type may have its own needs but a few universal maintenance requirements. Consider a few tips that would apply to all the best grass seeds for Illinois residents:

  • Water with a sprinkler or drip irrigation system for optimal water distribution. Drip irrigation can also deter pests by keeping moisture in the soil rather than leaving it on the blades, where it may attract insects and spiders.
  • Vary your mowing pattern every week, so the grass doesn’t start growing only in the directions you mow.
  • When mowing, set the mower high, so you only cut 1/3 of the blades at once. This keeps the grass short while leaving enough to retain its numerous benefits.
  • Mow only when the grass is dry to avoid uneven cutting or damage to the mower.
  • When it’s time to apply fertilizer, do so one or two days after watering the lawn.
  • Spread the fertilizer in a pattern similar to mowing.

Check Out These Grass Seeds!

There are so many benefits to the best grass seeds for Illinois, but they aren’t the only interesting thing about the Prairie State! We’re glad to offer plenty of exciting information about this and other places throughout the USA. Whether you’ll be traveling somewhere new or enjoy learning facts and trivia about the world around you, we love helping you feel prepared and excited!