The Q&A Archives: Lawn for Shade


Answer: Florida State University has identified three St. Augustine cultivars which do well in the shade. St. Augustinegrass is established by vegetative propagation such as sod, plugs, or sprigs. Here are descriptions of the recommended turf types: 'Amerishade' is a true ?dwarf? cultivar of St. Augustinegrass, with a very slow and prostrate growth habit and a lower mowing height (1.5 to 2 inches) than standard cultivars. Its mowing frequency is less than those of most other St. Augustinegrass cultivars, with research showing that it can go for just over two weeks even in the summer months before needing mowing. Like the other dwarfs, it has an increased tendency to produce thatch and is very susceptible to disease. It does not perform well in the northern parts of the state and can experience winterkill during cold years. Due to its slow growth habit, it also has greater difficulty recovering from damage or injury in comparison to other St. Augustinegrass cultivars. It maintains a deep green color and has good shade tolerance. 'Bitterblue' is a variety that was selected in the 1930s. Although 'Bitterblue' is marketed as a certified cultivar, there is no certified 'Bitterblue' germplasm maintained by turfgrass breeders at this time. What is typically sold as 'Bitterblue' has a fine, dense texture and dark blue-green color. It has good cold and shade tolerance, but is not resistant to chinch bugs or gray leaf spot disease. It is also susceptible to the herbicide atrazine, making weed control difficult. It is what is referred to as a ?standard? cultivar, with a mowing height of 3.5 to 4 inches. 'Floratine' This is an improved selection that was released in 1962 by the Florida Agricultural Experiment Station. It has a finer leaf texture and a denser and shorter growth habit that allows closer mowing than other standard St. Augustinegrass cultivars. It is not resistant to chinch bugs but tolerates light to moderate shade. 'Floratine' is similar to 'Bitterblue' in many characteristics and the two are difficult to distinguish. Best wishes with your new lawn.

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