There are both advantages and disadvantages of having shade in your garden. On one hand, it will give you a cool place to sit in the summer months.
In shaded areas, you will feel less warm. Thus, the shade can be a safe haven when the sun is overwhelmingly warm. Plus, there is a smaller chance of you getting sunburn.
But on the other hand, if you have a lot of trees or shrubs around, then you might not be able to enjoy the view. Moreover, this shade can adversely impact your turf.
It could cause damage to your lawn as the grass will not receive enough sunlight. Without the sun, grass cannot produce food for itself, a process that is known as photosynthesis.
So what’s the best turf for shade? Well, that is what I intend to answer below.
Table of Contents
- Why Is Shade Bad For Grass?
- Can Grass Benefit From Shade?
- The Best Turf For Shade
- How To Limit Shade
- How To Grow Grass With Lots Of Shade
- Frequently Asked Questions
Why Is Shade Bad For Grass?
When you have a lot of shade around your turf, it means that you don’t get much direct sunlight. This means that your grass won’t be receiving sufficient light from the sun. The lack of sunlight will make your grass grow slowly.
If you want your grass to grow fast, then you should provide more sunlight. But if you do not want your grass to grow too quickly, then you need to provide some shade.
Without sunlight, grass will not only grow very gradually. It can also be unhealthy. Without sunlight, plants cannot produce their own food.
Therefore, they must rely on the soil for nutrients. And since they don’t have any sunlight, they will not be able to absorb nutrients from the soil.
So without sunlight, grass will not be able to grow very well. This can result in a turf that looks and feels incredibly unhealthy.
Moreover, shaded grass may not get the right amount of water. Like sunlight, grass and other plants also need water.
However, unlike sunlight, grass does not require a great deal of water. In fact, it can be negatively impacted if it has too much water. Without direct sunlight, shaded patches of grass will retain too much water.
They will take much longer to dry than those that receive more sunlight. Therefore, the grass will be too wet.
Can Grass Benefit From Shade?
While humans can feel the benefits of shade, your turf is unlikely to also enjoy these advantages. As mentioned, many people like sitting in the shade during the summer.
However, the grass will be less pleased by the shade. Thankfully, some turfs are better-suited to a garden filled with shade.
The Best Turf For Shade
While these turfs still need sun, here are the ones that can best survive in the shade:
Zeon Zoysia Grass
This is a grass type that is fairly shade-tolerant. Zeon zoysia is renowned for its ability to adapt to its environment.
It has a medium green color scheme that looks great on most lawns. It is less likely to become diseased than other types of grass.
Another benefit is that it will not need to be fertilized as often as other varieties. Thus, this will be well-suited to people who do not enjoy fertilizing.
However, while this grass type can deal with partial shade, it is not recommended to place it in heavy shade. Instead, it is better suited to places where the sun shines through most of the day. Moreover, it can survive even in harsh sunlight.
St. Augustine Grass
If you want grass that can thrive in shady conditions, then St. Augustine is a perfect choice. It is one of the oldest grasses known to man. Its roots are deep, which makes it ideal for growing in areas that are difficult to access.
Additionally, it grows faster than other grasses. Despite this, St. Augustine does not have as high a shade tolerance as zeon zoysia.
Therefore, while you should not be concerned by partial shade, I do not advise using it in extremely shaded conditions.
Fine Fescue Grass
Our final recommendation is fine fescue. While it is not as popular as many other grass types, it is an excellent option for shady gardens. This type of grass is mainly used in Europe.
Fine fescue is a hardy grass that can withstand extreme temperatures. It can tolerate drought and pests. Fescue will grow slowly in the shade.
However, it has a higher tolerance than a lot of other options, making it a viable grass type.
How To Limit Shade
While these species of grass can, for the most part, survive in the shade, your best bet is to limit the amount of shade in your garden.
Doing so will enable grass to grow effectively. Here are our top tips:
Prune Your Garden
One way to reduce the amount of shade is to prune your garden. Pruning removes branches and leaves. This allows light to reach the ground. You will need to remove any dead or weak branches first.
Then, you can cut down the rest of the branches. If you are unsure about how to prune your garden, consult a professional gardener.
Be sure to have your gardener trim any trees, bushes, or shrubs that are blocking sunlight from entering the garden.
Another way to keep the shade out of your garden is to use trellises. These structures allow the sun to shine through them. They also give your plants more space to grow.
Trellises come in different forms. Some are freestanding, while others are attached to walls or fences.
Whatever form they take, trellises provide a good alternative to proper fences. Not only will they flood your garden with light, but they also look aesthetically pleasing.
However, one potential downside is that your garden may feel more exposed if you swap your fencing with a trellis.
Get Lower Fences
If the walls or fences in your garden are too tall, they will hamper sunlight from reaching your garden. To avoid this problem, get lower fences. The lower the fence, the more light you will get.
On the other hand, this may result in your garden being overlooked. As a result, your neighbors might be able to see into your garden.
If this makes you uncomfortable, then you will need to find the perfect balance between privacy and accessing sunlight.
Though changing your fencing is a successful solution, it may not be the most cost-effective. After all, it can cost an arm and a leg to have fencing replaced or your garden walls altered.
Consider Artificial Light
Artificial lighting is another way to ensure that your garden receives enough sunlight. There are two main ways to add artificial light to your garden.
First, there are lights that hang above your plants. These lights are usually placed on poles or wires.
Another option is to install solar panels. Solar panels work by converting sunlight into energy. As a result, you do not need to pay electricity bills.
However, it is very difficult for these artificial lights to mimic real sunlight. Though they can add some light to your garden, this may not be the most useful solution for your plants.
Instead, many people use garden lights for aesthetic purposes. You can usually find them in a variety of colors and sizes, allowing you to see better in the dark or shade.
How To Grow Grass With Lots Of Shade
If you are determined to grow grass in shaded conditions, you must follow our advice. The following tips can enable you to have healthy grass even with low sunlight:
Select The Correct Turf
One of the best ways of dealing with too much shade is to choose a grass type that is at least partially shade-tolerant.
The 3 suggestions that I previously mentioned will be brilliant for this purpose, as they tend to have a higher shade tolerance than other types of grass.
Water Your Lawn Regularly
You should water your lawn regularly. Even though it seems like your lawn has plenty of water, it still needs to be watered.
Otherwise, it could dry up and die. It is important to remember to water your lawn in the summer when the grass is unlikely to receive much moisture.
Though shaded areas will need less water, since they are less at risk of becoming dry, you should nonetheless ensure that they receive heavy doses of water.
Mulch helps to retain moisture in your soil. This means that your grass will stay green longer. It also prevents weeds from growing.
Therefore, mulching is essential for any grass that grows in shady conditions. It will make your soil healthier, allowing the grass to receive some of the nutrients that it might otherwise lack.
Mow Less Often
Longer grass will receive more sunlight than shorter grass. This is because these blades will have a larger surface area. Mowing your grass less will often help to increase its length.
Alternatively, you could just use a different mowing height to ensure that the grass is long. However, if you want to keep your lawn looking neat, you should always mow it as short as possible.
Consequently, you must find harmony between keeping your lawn neat and ensuring that it is long enough to get enough sunlight.
Lessen Foot Traffic
Foot traffic is a term that applies to the number of people or animals that walk across an area. Grass that does not receive enough sunlight is more vulnerable than standard grass.
To avoid damaging it, you should try to avoid walking on shaded patches of grass, especially in the summer when shaded grass is at its weakest.
Be Mindful Of Diseased Grass
Disease is one of the biggest threats to grass. If you notice that your grass looks unhealthy, you should take action immediately.
You should try to restore it to a healthy pH. In addition, you may want to apply a fertilizer that will benefit the grass.
Frequently Asked Questions
How Can I Tell the Difference Between Different Grass Types?
Different grass types can be distinguished because they have different colors, sizes, and textures. Some of the most common grasses include Bermuda, Kentucky bluegrass, and fescue.
These grasses all look similar, but each has its own unique characteristics. For example, Bermuda grass tends to be slightly taller than others.
Is There A Type Of Grass That Likes Shade?
No. Though some varieties are more shade resistant than others, there is currently no known type of grass that thrives better in the shade than it does in the sun.
This is why many people struggle to grow grass if their garden blocks out sunlight.
Shade-tolerant grasses are ideal for planting in shady areas. They will allow you to enjoy the benefits of having a lush lawn without worrying about how much sun your grass receives.
With any luck, this guide will have taught you more about shade-tolerant grass. With the help of this article, you can implement lawn care that will result in a perfect turf.