The Q&A Archives: growing grass in dense shade

Question: i have a very small front yard that is dominated by an old, huge maple tree right in the middle with pretty extensive roots. i cannot grow grass in 25% of the yard..every year i plant seed and it grows, but never strong enough to handle mowing or a hard rain before it dies again. would sod work?

Answer: I wish there were an easy answer to your question. Grass just won't thrive in the shade. Some grasses are more shade tolerant than others but they, too, will eventually die out and you will need to reseed. You could install sod and it will live for a few years because it already has a thick and healthy root system, but without sunshine it, too, will fade away. About the only thing you can grow in the shade of your maple is a groundcover type plant. Some will take foot traffic if you need to walk in the area. Pachysandra, vinca minor and Baby's tears will grow in the shade. Wish I had better news for you!

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