Growing Grass Seed in the Shade
Growing grass seed in the shade can be a challenge, as shady spots on your lawn can make it difficult for grass to survive and thrive. However, with a little knowledge and some smart planting choices, it is possible to have beautiful, lush grass even in areas of your lawn that receive minimal sunlight. Whether doing a complete yard installation or providing care to areas that experience dense shade or dappled sunlight, let’s dive into what you need to know about growing grass in the shade.
Identify The Shady Areas in Your Lawn
Knowing where shady areas are will help you understand what areas need extra care to grow lawn grasses in each area. Once identified, draw a diagram of your property and mark the shaded areas. Be sure to check for nearby buildings and trees that cause shade. Remember, shaded areas may experience dense shade or partial sun throughout the day. Keep in mind the size of the object can determine partial or dappled sun or completely prevent your lawn from direct sun.
Prepare for Planting Shade Tolerant Grass Seed
Condition the soil by using a hoe, rake or tiller to remove any large rocks or debris, as well as break up any hard clumps of dirt. The goal is to loosen things up to make it easier for grass roots to penetrate when you start planting grass seed. Consider adding organic matter to aid nutrient absorption in your soil. This will also help break down clay and help bind any sand in the top layer. Spread a thin layer over the desired area and mix it into the soil.
Choose Your Shade Tolerant Grass
As you prepare to grow grass, you’ll want to choose from shade tolerant grasses. Some shade tolerant species include:
- St. Augustine Grass is an ideal option to grow grass in shady areas as it has an extensive root system and can spread quickly. It grows thickly and requires moderate amounts of water and fertilizer, making it easy to care for.
- Zoysia Grass seed is another excellent choice as it is shade tolerant while remaining drought-tolerant and disease-resistant. Its slow growth rate means it won’t require frequent mowing.
- Bermuda Grass seed is also a good option for shady areas, although its aggressive growth may require more frequent mowing than other varieties.
When to Plant Grass Seed
Late spring (May through June) and early fall (August through September) are generally considered the best seasons for seeding your lawn. (Check out our article, The Best Times to Seed Your Lawn, to learn more about the best season to grow grass and the equipment you may need.)
The temperatures tend to be milder during these times of the year, which helps with germination. Cooler temperatures also mean less stress on newly seeded grass, as well as less competition from weeds that prefer hot weather. Additionally, shorter days make it easier for new grass to establish itself before the cold of winter or brutal heat of summer arrives.
Keeping Your Grass Healthy
Shady areas can cause the soil to retain more water than sunny spots. That is one reason it’s important you don’t overwater or underwater your lawn. A good rule of thumb is to water deeply but infrequently, allowing the soil time between watering sessions to dry out without becoming dehydrated or compacted.
Regular mowing is another essential part of keeping your lawn healthy in any condition, but especially in shady areas where growth may not be as fast compared with sunny spots. Mowing high (no lower than 3 inches) encourages deep roots and keeps sunlight from reaching weeds that may try to take over in shady spots. It’s also important you mow regularly, so you don’t remove too much of the leaf at once. This will help prevent scalping and promote a thicker turf over time.
The Bottom Line
Growing grass seed in the shade may seem impossible, but it is entirely doable. By choosing a variety of grass suited for shady conditions and by keeping up with regular maintenance, you can create a beautiful oasis even without access to direct sunlight.
With these tips in mind, you can have a lush lawn no matter how much (or how little) sun exposure you have available. If you have any questions or would like to schedule a free landscaping consultation, contact us at All Metro Service Companies today! We can help answer your questions about shade tolerant grasses, how to maintain them and more.
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