A lot of people are asking the question, “What is the best grass seed for shade?” and it’s a tough one to answer because there aren’t many varieties that can grow in shady areas. The most common types of shade-loving plants are trees with dense canopies, shrubs, and other thick foliage. But if you’re not looking for a plant but rather something that grows on ground level then this article will help you narrow down your search.
There are some grass varieties that can thrive in partial sunlight. They tend to be more expensive than regular grass seed, so you may want to consider whether or not you’re willing to spend the extra money. If you decide that it’s worth it, research options and make sure they are appropriate for your area before purchasing any product.
Best Grass Seed For Shade – Top Picks
For the gardener who has a shady backyard, or for those with large trees shading their yard, planting grass is not an easy task. The lack of sun can result in unhealthy growth and fewer flowers blooming, so it’s important to choose the best grass seed for shade. This selection of grass seeds will provide you with some helpful tips on how to select your new lawn.
Here are 7 best grass seeds for shade:
1. Perennial Ryegrass
Perennial ryegrass is a perennial grass that can grow in shade and it is one of the best grass seeds for shady areas. It has a high tolerance to shade, cold and drought conditions. It can be used in lawns, pasture, erosion control, and roadside planting. It is also used as forage and hay crop.
It can grow in full sun or partial shade conditions. In full sun conditions, it grows well if the soil is well-drained and moist but not soggy. The height of perennial ryegrass ranges from 10 to 16 inches tall and its spread from 8 to 12 inches wide. It will start growing in spring after the last frost date and it will continue through fall until the first frost date arrives. This grass seed thrives well in most regions of North America except for areas with extreme weather conditions such as hot dry summers or extremely cold winters.
2. Kentucky Bluegrass – Best Grass Seed For Shade And Poor Soil
If you are looking for a grass seed that will grow in poor soil and shade, then the best option is to go with Kentucky Bluegrass.
Kentucky Bluegrass is a very popular choice for home lawns as it does well in poor soil conditions. It can even grow in full shade.
This type of grass grows up to 12 inches tall with a spread of 6 to 8 inches wide. Its roots reach deep into the ground which makes it very hardy against drought conditions and other types of stresses that may occur during winter season when the top layer of soil freezes over completely leaving this plant without any water supply at all. Kentucky bluegrass has a great resistance against pests such as white grubs, chinch bugs, moles, voles and other animals that might want to eat its leaves or dig holes on your lawn’s surface while searching for food sources underneath the ground surface.
If you have dogs running around your property then you should consider planting this grass because it has a great resistance against dog urine which may burn other types of grass species if they come into contact with them directly especially during hot summer days when dogs are more active outside their houses.
3. Tall Fescue – Best Grass Seed For Dense Shade
Tall fescue is a perennial grass that can grow in full sun or partial shade conditions. It has a high tolerance to drought, cold and shade conditions. It is used as forage and hay crop and is also used for lawns, erosion control, roadside planting, pasture and sports fields. It can grow up to 10 inches tall with a spread of 8 to 12 inches wide. It will start growing in spring after the last frost date and it will continue through fall until the first frost date arrives. This grass seed thrives well in most regions of North America except for areas with extreme weather conditions such as hot dry summers or extremely cold winters. Tall fescue has a great resistance against pests such as white grubs, chinch bugs, moles, voles and other animals that might want to eat its leaves or dig holes on your lawn’s surface while searching for food sources underneath the ground surface.
4. Kentucky Bluegrass/Rough Bluegrass Mix
This type of mix consists mostly Kentucky bluegrass but it also contains rough bluegrass which provides an excellent combination between both bluegrass species since Kentucky bluegrass grows well in full sun conditions while rough bluegrass does better in partial shade conditions due to its light green coloration which reflects light energy very well helping it absorb less light energy than dark green colored plants do so that means that rough bluegrass will be able to absorb less heat energy from direct sunlight exposure and it will be able to grow well in partial shade conditions which is the exact conditions that this grass seed mix thrives best in.
5. Perennial Ryegrass/Fescue Mix
This grass seed mix consists mostly of perennial ryegrass but it also contains fescue species which gives you a combination between both types of grass species since perennial ryegrass does better in full sun conditions while fescue species do better in partial shade conditions due to its light green coloration which reflects light energy very well helping it absorb less light energy than dark green colored plants do so that means that fescue will be able to absorb less heat energy from direct sunlight exposure and it will be able to grow well in partial shade conditions which is the exact conditions that this grass seed mix thrives best in.
6. Tall Fescue/Kentucky Bluegrass Mix
This type of mix consists mostly tall fescue but it also contains Kentucky bluegrass which provides an excellent combination between both bluegrass species since tall fescue grows well in full sun conditions while Kentucky bluegrass does better in partial shade conditions due to its light green coloration which reflects light energy very well helping it absorb less light energy than dark green colored plants do so that means that Kentucky bluegrass will be able to absorb less heat energy from direct sunlight exposure and it will be able to grow well in partial shade conditions which is the exact conditions that this grass seed mix thrives best in.
7. Tall Fescue/Fine Fescue Mix – Best Grass Seed For Shaded Areas
This grass seed mix consists mostly tall fescue but it also contains fine fescue which gives you a combination between both types of grass species since tall fescue does better in full sun conditions while fine fescue does better in partial shade conditions due to its light green coloration which reflects light energy very well helping it absorb less light energy than dark green colored plants do so that means that fine fescue will be able to absorb less heat energy from direct sunlight exposure and it will be able to grow well in partial shade conditions which is the exact conditions that this grass seed mix thrives best in.
Why Is It Difficult to Grow Grass in Shade?
Here are 5 challenges with growing grass in shade:
1. Shade from trees and shrubs will make it difficult to grow grass in shade. If the tree has an overhanging branch, you can cut it back to let more light in, but this is not always practical or possible.
2. Many shade-tolerant grasses have a fine texture that does not hold up well under foot traffic. They can also be very slow growing, making them difficult to maintain and keep looking good throughout the year.
3. Grass in shade tends to be thin-bladed with a low growth rate. This means it needs plenty of water and nutrients to look its best all season long.
4. Roots need sunlight for photosynthesis (the process of turning sunlight into food). Without adequate light, the roots will struggle to grow down deep enough for your lawn to root properly. This makes it more susceptible to drought stress and disease problems as well as insect damage from above ground pests such as grubs and chinch bugs, which feed on the roots of your lawn causing poor turfgrass health underneath where you don’t see it until it’s too late!
5. Shade from evergreen trees like pines and spruce (and even some deciduous trees) will block out most if not all sunlight during winter months when grass grows most slowly due to cold temperatures – further slowing growth rates!
How Do I Grow Grass In Heavy Shade?
Here are 5 steps to grow grass in heavy shade:
1. Prepare the Soil
The soil in your area should be tested to determine its pH level and nutrient content. You can purchase a home test kit from most garden centers or online retailers. If you know that the soil is fertile, you can skip this step and move on to the next one. If you aren’t sure about the quality of your soil, it’s best to start with a fresh layer of topsoil and compost.
2. Mix in Fertilizer
After you have added new topsoil, mix in fertilizer that is high in nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium (NPK). This will help encourage grass growth while also improving soil texture and drainage. Most commercial fertilizers are labeled with their NPK ratio so it shouldn’t be hard to find one that works well for your lawn. You can also use organic fertilizers like manure or compost if you prefer not to use chemicals around your home.
3. Spread Mulch or Straw Over the Soil
This step is optional, but it will help keep weeds at bay while adding additional nutrients back into the soil over time as it decomposes. It also helps keep down the amount of water needed during hot months when watering isn’t recommended for shade lawns anyway because it encourages fungus growth and disease problems with your grass seedlings. If you do choose to add mulch or straw, make sure that there is at least 3 inches of material covering the ground before planting seedlings so they don’t grow through it before they are ready!
4. Plant Grass Seed or Sod in the Spring
If you are planting grass seed, make sure to choose a shade-tolerant variety that can handle low light and cooler temperatures. If you are planting sod, make sure to water it regularly while it’s establishing itself to help keep the roots healthy. It will also need more fertilizer than a seedling so be sure to apply a fresh layer of NPK every couple of weeks during the growing season.
5. Water Regularly
Shade lawns need more water than sunny lawns because they have less direct sunlight and therefore don’t get as much energy from the sun for photosynthesis. You should water your new grass at least once a week during hot months when there is no rain in your forecast and twice a week during cooler months if there is no rain or snowfall expected within the next few days. Keep an eye on your grass for signs of disease like brown spots or patches that won’t go away after watering them regularly. If you spot any, try treating them with products made specifically for fungus and other plant diseases before they spread too far!
What Kind Of Grass Will Grow Under Shade Trees?
The answer depends on the trees. We have a mix of maples, oaks and elms in our yard, and all of them drop leaves at different times of the year. Some leaves fall in summer (oak), some in autumn (maple) and others in winter (elm). The grass under the trees is a mixture of fescues, orchard grasses, bents and other native grasses. It’s not a lawn as such but it’s not bad either.
When Should I Plant Grass Seed In The Shade?
Most grass seed will germinate in the spring and grow well if planted in the shade. However, some grasses such as fescues, Kentucky bluegrass and perennial ryegrass are better adapted to shady conditions than others.
If you want a lawn that is mostly green year-round, consider planting a cool-season grass such as fine fescue or tall fescue. These grasses are more shade tolerant than Kentucky bluegrass or perennial ryegrass, so they can handle most shade conditions.
The best time to plant fine fescue or tall fescue is in late summer or early fall when the weather is cooler and there’s less chance of disease problems. It’s also best to choose a slow-release fertilizer for these grasses since they don’t grow as quickly as other types of turfgrass.
What Is The Best Fescue Grass Seed For Shade?
The best fescue grass seed for shade is tall fescue. It is a deep rooted fescue that can handle the shade well. Tall fescue will grow best in moist, rich soil, so it is best to add some compost or other organic matter to the soil before planting.
Can I grow grass in full shade?
Here are 5 steps to grow grass in full shade:
1. Start with a good soil.
The first step is to make sure your soil has the nutrients it needs to support grass growth. If you have poor quality, sandy soil, you will need to amend it with compost and other organic matter to improve its texture and fertility.
2. Add an organic fertilizer.
Next, spread an organic fertilizer over your lawn area in early spring before new growth begins and water it in well. You can also add a slow-release fertilizer throughout the season as needed. Organic fertilizers are especially important for shade because they release their nutrients slowly over time rather than all at once like chemical fertilizers do, which helps prevent burning of the leaves from too much nitrogen in one shot. (See our article on how to choose a lawn fertilizer.) For best results, use a balanced blend that includes nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium (N-P-K). A 5-10-5 or 10-10-10 ratio is ideal for shade conditions because these blends contain just enough nitrogen to help plants grow but not so much that they’ll get burned by too much sun exposure or water stress from overfertilization. If you’re using grass clippings for mulch or composting them, don’t use them on your lawn unless you’ve already applied plenty of nitrogen fertilizer; otherwise they’ll burn your lawn’s delicate new growth during hot weather when there’s no rain for weeks at a time — which happens way more often in full shade!
3. Water properly…or not at all!
Water only when needed — never on a schedule — so that the ground doesn’t stay wet long enough for fungal diseases to develop or the roots to suffocate from lack of oxygen. This is especially important if your soil is heavy clay; once it gets wet it will stay wet until it rains again! To tell if your lawn needs water, stick your finger into the ground up to knuckle level; if the top inch feels dry then give it some water by hand with a hose until it reaches about 2 inches deep (this will take about 1/2 inch of water).
Check again after about 15 minutes; if it still feels dry then repeat until you reach dampness 2 inches deep…but don’t let the ground get soggy! If you don’t want to bother watering by hand, put out several self-watering containers around your yard that will deliver small amounts of water right where each plant needs it.
4. Shade-tolerant grasses are best for shady areas.
If you’re trying to grow grass in full shade, the best lawn for shady areas is a warm season grass like zoysia, centipede or carpetgrass that can tolerate heat and humidity. Cool season grasses like fescue and bluegrass need at least 6 hours of sunlight each day to thrive, so they don’t do well in full shade where they’ll just turn yellow and die in the summer heat. Warm season grasses like bahia, Bermuda, St. Augustine and zoysia are better choices because they can tolerate hot weather much better than cool season grasses can — and most of them will still look good even if they only get 4 hours of sun per day! (See our article on how to choose a lawn.) A few other options include:
5. Mow high…but not too high!
Mow your lawn every 2 weeks during its growing season (spring through fall) when it’s actively putting on new growth; never mow off more than 1/3 of its height at one time — this will help prevent fungal diseases from developing and keep your soil from drying out too quickly by allowing the roots to stay cool for longer periods between watering cycles (which also helps prevent fungus). After the first hard frost in fall is when you’ll want to stop mowing altogether until spring…and you may not even need to do that if you have heavy enough leaf coverage since most plants will go dormant during cold weather anyway unless there’s enough light available for photosynthesis; just make sure you remove any dead leaves after a hard freeze so that water doesn’t collect on top of them and cause damage from ice dams during freezing weather!