The Q&A Archives: Growing Grass For First Time, Need Help

Question: Just moved into my home 4 weeks ago,tore up the ground layed a brand new sprinkler system, put down some compost and now the only problem is the best type of grass to plant. My backyard is roughly about 60 ft. by 24 ft., with three trees, 2 at each end and one right in the middle. It gives the yard the most beautiful shade throughout the day, from sun up to sundown. Sun rays do get through and the whole yard receives about 3 hours of sun, throughout the whole day at different times. There is not one time when the whole yard is getting sun at the same time, but that doesn't matter because I live in Phoenix, AZ. where the days get so hot that water dries and evaporates with out the sun. Would you please give me your advice on about 2 or 3 types of grasses that I could possibly plant with those living conditions?

Answer: Unfortunately, there isn't a grass type that really thrives in the shade in the low desert. St. Augustine will take some shade, but needs about 30% filtered sunlight. Zoysia will take some shade. Neither of these are "foolproof" for shady conditions, though.

Bermudagrass is the most commonly planted here for the warm season, and then it is either overseeded with ryegrass for the winter or allowed to go dormant. Both of those take full sun (at least 6-8 hours per day).

"Desert Landscaping for Beginners," 0-9651987-3-1, Arizona Master Gardener Press, has an excellent chapter on turf care for the low desert.

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