Shade and Your Lawn

Between 25% to 40% of turf is grown in partial or deep shade. A 50% or more light reduction is not uncommon.

Shade effects turf by:

  1. Reduced light intensity
  2. Extremes of temperatures are moderated
  3. Wind movement is restricted
  4. Relative humidity is increased
  5. Intensity and duration of dew is increased &
  6. Turf has to compete with tree roots for water and plant nutrients.

Very often grass grows well in shaded areas between buildings where no competition for water or plant nutrients are present. Cool season grasses will offer a solution in these areas. 

If shading is extreme, it may be necessary to eliminate some of the shade. Turf grasses may also be removed and replaced by using other plants for ground cover. Also removing unnecessary trees should be the first step in too shady lawns. If removing trees or establishing alternative plants is not an option, one needs to start looking at grass mixtures/blends capable to withstand these extreme conditions. 

Shady lawns should be fertilized adequately. Apply at least 2kg-3kg of nitrogen (N) per year, per 100msq. Excessive nitrogen (N) fertilization is not advisable because grass may be increasingly succulent and more susceptible to diseases. Trees should be supplied with plant nutrients by deep fertilsation. Soil reaction should be favourable to grasses.

Shady lawn is better if mown higher (5cm-6cm) and excessive watering avoided. It is important to water deeply and less frequent. Leaves and other debris should be removed as often as needed. Do not use garden leaf rake on cool season grasses but rather leaf blower. Use of fungicides in shaded turf areas is helpful and often needed. Please advise your local nursery.

Soil in shady areas often gets over watered. Soils too wet and generally of poor physical condition or subjected to trampling, heavy wear and compactive forces, may form an impervious layer. This layer prevents water infiltration, nutrient penetration and gaseous exchange between the soil and atmosphere. Turfgrasses tend to thin out under these conditions and are often replaced by weeds. Do no over water! By doing this you will also save water.

Remove grass in shady areas and replace with other plants for ground cover

Follow these easy steps and you will have a beautiful lawn in all shaded areas.

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