Growing Grass in the Shade

March 7, 2013 | Gardening, posted by Sasha

home in the shade

Trees and shade are wonderful for creating an interesting, inviting landscape. But growing grass in those shaded areas is a universal challenge to lawn owners—but one that can be met with a little planning and the right sod.

First let’s establish what we mean by “shade.” A typical shady area is one that receives 4-5 hours of sunlight (direct or filtered) per day. An area that gets less than 4 hours a day of sunlight per day is considered too shady for grass to grow well.

Lower levels of sunlight mean a reduction in photosynthesis (essential for growth) and grass that is more vulnerable to hot or cold temperatures, drought and everyday wear and tear. Disease is also an issue for grass in the shade: Higher humidity and reduced air circulation create an atmosphere ripe for disease.

It is vital to select a highly shade-tolerant variety to give grass its best shot. In Texas climates, the most successful shade grasses include Palmetto St. Augustine grass, Palisades Zoysia, Empire Zoysia and Zeon Zoysia grass.

Here are some additional tips to help your grass succeed in shady areas:

  • If the grass is under a tree, examine the tree to see if you can prune some limbs back to allow more sunlight in. (It’s best to consult with a certified arborist when doing this to prevent permanent damage to the tree, however.)
  • Check for adequate drainage: It’s important to avoid excess moisture in the grass.
  • When mowing your lawn, allow shaded grass to grow a little taller. More leaf surface means more sunlight absorption. Be sure to remove clippings afterwards.
  • Clean up fallen leaves and other debris quickly from shaded grass. You don’t want anything acting as a barrier between the grass and the sunlight.
  • Minimize traffic in shaded areas to decrease stress on grass.

If you are trying to establish new grass in a shaded area, don’t hesitate to contact us. Our team at The Grass Outlet can answer your questions and help you order the right sod for your space. Call us today.