Choosing Grass for Your Shady Lawn
In most cases, grass doesn’t like shade, so you will fail to have a good lawn if you have many shade trees and other low light conditions in the yard. The good news is that you can easily find special shade lawn grass to solve this common problem. However, before going too excited, you should understand that no plants can survive without light. It’s impossible to find any deep-shade grass for lawns, but you can have a good lawn in the areas that receive some indirect sunlight. The first thing that should be done is choosing the best grass for high-shade areas.
Available Shade-Tolerant Varieties
When shopping for the best option, find out more about available shade lawn grass varieties, including the following:
- Red creeping fescue is a cold-season grass that has wonderful records for being a fairly deep-shade solution;
- St. Augustine is the best option for any warm season cover, but the main drawback is that it doesn’t play well with other types of grasses due to its distinctive texture;
- Velvet bentgrass is perfect for a cool season, and it has excellent records;
- Zoysia grass has great tolerance for medium-shade locations, but it usually turns brown with frost, so it’s better to use it as a warm-season solution;
- Poa bluegrass is your best choice for high-shade areas due to its indifference to any water conditions, but it doesn’t mix well with other types of deep-shade grass due to its light green color;
- Compared with other fine-bladed options, but it must have several hours of direct sunlight;
- Hard and tall fescues are often found in different shade mixtures because they’re great for medium-density shade and high foot traffic;
- Carpetgrass and centipede grass are perfect for warm seasons and light-shade locations;
- Perennial ryegrass is a fast fix for any deep-shade area because it makes a great cover for about a year, so you need to seed it on a yearly basis. It fits well for high shade.
How Shade Can Range
When looking for the best lawn grass for shade, you should know everything about different types of shade and the right definition of this grass. Basically, shade grass is any type of grass varieties that are tolerant to shade. The latter one includes:
- Partial shade (a bit of sunlight during the day);
- Full shade (stays shady most of the day);
- Dappled shade (the light that penetrates shady tree branches):
- Heavy or light shade (under diverse tree canopies).
It’s worth mentioning that some types of grass grow better in different degrees of shade. Unfortunately, such popular grass options as ryegrass and Kentucky bluegrass are not shade-lovers at all because they thrive in moderate or full sun, and their seed blends heavy.
Best Type of Lawn Grass for Shady Areas
How to pick the best lawn grass that grows in the shade? For a cool season, the best shade grass is from fescues. When it comes to standard grass seeds, they contain a part of fescues, and dominant species emerge based on the sunlight they receive. If your area is very shady, you need a special seed blend to have a good lawn.
Pay attention to creeping red fescue because it’s a good option that should be blended with chewings and hard fescues to adapt to different soil types and diverse shade degrees easier. Tall fescues also deserve your attention because they grow well in shady areas, so they’re commonly seen in many seed blends for shade.
Every fescue variety contains a number of cultivars, and some of them are often chosen for such great benefits as drought tolerance, disease resistance, soil adaptability, and so on. High-profile cultivars tend to be expensive, and that’s why they are often used in such applications as golf courses. Average-priced cultivars are fine for many shady lawns but don’t choose very cheap seeds because they’re quite likely to result in your disappointment and low-germination rates.
Endophytes and Fescues
Another interesting thing about fescues is that they are rare types of grass that can host endophytes, which are a kind of fungus that lives with them symbiotically. The good thing is that endophytes don’t cause any hard to lawn grass, and there are many studies that prove that their presence benefits turf health. It also enables lawn grass to better withstand such common stress factors as drought and heat, while providing an element of mammal resistance. They naturally occur on specific occasions, but grass seeds can be inoculated after harvesting. It’s a natural method of providing a further level of protection against different pests, diseases, and other unwanted factors. Endophyte-inoculated seeds must be stored in a dry and cool environment to save their benefits.
Shady Grass for a Warm Season
St. Augustine grass is the best choice for a warm season, but the only drawback is that you can’t buy it as seeds. It’s necessary to plant this shady lawn grass as sods. Other excellent solutions include Centipede and Zoysia grass varieties because they are perfect for southern climate conditions. Fine fescues are also suitable for increased shade tolerance.
Grass Types under Shady Trees
If you want to have a beautiful and green lawn under shady trees, remember that the chosen grass will not only lack enough sunlight, but it will also be a competitor for water and nutrients. Ensure that you have adequate soil to sustain it among tree roots. Your lawn grass will require extra assistance through extra fertilizing and watering. Try to thin out trees to allow as much direct sunlight as possible.
Finally, consider a few important factors for your lawn in a shady area: