Getting grass to grow underneath trees can be a challenge, because grass needs strong sunlight to grow. Trees provide shade that blocks the grass underneath from getting enough sun exposure. In addition, trees can drain the soil of nutrients and moisture, so the grass underneath will simply wither away. There are some grasses, however, that, when properly maintained, can actually thrive underneath trees.
Types of Grass that Thrive in Shade
Growing grass in shade can be done quite easily, as long as you choose shade-tolerant grasses such as these:
- Rye and fine, red and tall fescues: These only need four hours of sun a day, and particularly thrive in cooler regions.
- Zoysia and St. Augustine: These will grow in shade, and acclimate perfectly in the Texas heat.
It’s important to not only choose shade-tolerant grasses, but also to pay attention to the types of grasses that grow best in your climate. For some regions, the best grass for shade might be a mix of several types of grass seeds rather than one specific kind. That’s why it’s a good idea to talk to a gardening specialist before making your selection.
Tips for Growing Grass Under Trees
In addition to choosing the best grass for trees, you should also follow these guidelines for ensuring healthy growth:
- Prune the tree’s lower branches. This will allow more light to filter through to the grass underneath.
- Water the grass once a week during dry periods, and fertilize it three times a year. This can help replace the nutrients that are being absorbed by the tree.
In addition, don’t mow the grass under the tree as enthusiastically as you mow the rest of your lawn. Grass growing under trees should be allowed to grow about an inch longer than grass that’s not in a shaded area. This way, the grass will reach more sunlight, and will also develop deeper roots.
Adding Soil Under Trees
When planting grass under trees, be careful not to add too much soil. Some trees can’t tolerate even a few inches of soil spread over their roots, so check with a gardening expert before planting.
By choosing the right grass and following a few maintenance tips, you should be able to keep your entire lawn looking green — including the areas under the leafiest trees.