GRASS IN SHADY AREA - Knowledgebase Question

SYLACAUGA, Al
Question by THEONEHOTROD
June 30, 2010
My neighbors on both sides have large trees that shade both sides of my front lawn for a good portion of the day. I have tried zoysia and centipeed sod and neither made it more than two years in the shady areas. what can I do?


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Answer from NGA
June 30, 2010

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Since shade is a poor environment for turfgrass, it is essential to develop a good management program in shady places. First, select shade tolerant grasses.

St. Augustinegrass has the best tolerance for shade of any of the warm-season grass species and will also grow well in full sunlight. The most shade-tolerant cultivars are 'Seville', 'Delmar', 'Floraverde', and 'Captiva'. 'Floratam', which is the most widely used St. Augustinegrass cultivar, has relatively poor shade tolerance and requires six to eight hours of sunlight daily.

Zoysiagrass cultivars such as 'Empire' have moderate shade tolerance, somewhat similar to Floratam St. Augustinegrass.

Centipedegrass will tolerate moderate shade. Bahiagrass, seashore paspalum, and bermudagrass are sun-loving species that will not do well in shaded conditions.

Other ways to ensure success:
Raise the mowing height. Increased mowing height induces larger root systems and healthier plants.
Irrigate infrequently, but heavily. An irrigation program that minimizes the amount of time shaded areas are moist is beneficial in reducing disease. Infrequent watering also tends to minimize compaction and reduce shallow surface rooting.
Reduce use of the area. Thin cell walled grass plants with little food reserve cannot bear much traffic without sustaining damage. Therefore, any effort to minimize traffic in shaded areas is beneficial.
Provide good drainage. Poor drainage increases the possibility of disease activity.
Remove leaves and debris promptly. Quick removal of leaves and debris all year long is essential as they shade the grass plant and reduce its food making potential.

Hope this information helps!

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