The Q&A Archives: tough grass

Question: I have three very active dogs that wear out my lawn. I live in Ohio and most of my grass is in the shade. I have tried several different types of grass and I have blocked it off from them until its first few cuts. I don't know if my problem is with the type of grass or my technique, please help.

Answer: I think you've followed all the right techniques in trying to grow and restore turfgrass in shady areas. But, getting grass to grow in the shade is a real challenge, regardless of what you do. Many varieties of fine fescue grasses, such as chewing fescue and creeping red fescue, are the most shade tolerant of any turf grass. Fine fescues can also thrive in areas where topsoil is thin. You will also need to treat shaded areas differently when you mow. Mow this area a bit higher than the rest of the lawn (about 3 inches or more) to retain as much available moisture for the plant as possible. You also will need to adapt your fertilizer program for shaded areas. Fine fescues are not as tolerant of heavy applications of high nitrogen fertilizers, so a spring and fall application is usually sufficient. It is also a good idea to let grass clippings remain on the lawn after mowing to get more nutrients and organic matter to the soil. Hope these tips are helpful!

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