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Tips for Planting Grass Seed in the Shade

Helpful Tips for Planting Grass Seeds in the Shade

Sowing the right kind of grass seeds in shady areas is the first step for maintaining a healthy lawn in shaded areas. To understand basic tips for planting shade grass seed, keep reading this article.
Gardenerdy Staff
Last Updated: Mar 9, 2018
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Maintaining a lawn in shaded areas is definitely a challenge for homeowners. This is because of the fact that lawn grass that receives less than four hours of light everyday shows less growth and reduced vigor. Also, it is prone to light problems, drought and diseases. Nevertheless, with proper planning and a little forethought, you can surely maintain luxuriant green lawn that everyone will envy. A simple trick is to sow grass seed in shaded areas and follow proper lawn care instructions.

What is the Best Grass Seed to Plant in the Shade?

So, your lawn falls in a shaded area, and you want to grow the best grass seed there? For any type of lawn, selecting grass seeds suited for the particular location and climatic conditions in the area is a mandatory step. Search for lawn grass types and you will come across a plethora of them, which call for specific growth conditions. Your main objective is to choose varieties that are tolerant to shade or low light exposure. Following this, you need to sort out those that are perfect for your garden soil pH, water availability and climatic zone in your region.

The kind of grass seed will depend on how much light the planting site receives on a daily basis. Say for instance, grass that is resistant to partial shade will not grow luxuriantly in full shaded areas. Hence, first determine the amount of sunlight exposure and also, the temperature condition. Popularly opted grass seed types for shade include saint augustine grass, centipede grass, rough bluegrass, carpet grass, zoysia grass, red fescue and sheep's fescue. Of these, the best grass seed for shade is Saint Augustine, followed by rough bluegrass and zoysia grass.

How to Plant Grass Seed in the Shade

Considering the fact that grasses are native to full sunlit areas (not forest floor), following correct grass seed planting tips is of utmost importance for growing a healthy turf in shade. A simple trick is to clear up anything that reduces exposure of grasses to sunlight. Say for example, you need to remove fallen leaves or grass clippings on a regular basis to allow optimal light. Refer to the following tips for planting shade grass seed.
  • Clean the planting site and remove plant debris, weeds and large rocks. Using correct tool for gardening, loosen the top soil layer (at least 2-3 inch) to ensure quick development of roots. Also, do not forget to level soil evenly.
  • Plan the grass sowing time in such a way that there is sufficient time for growth after grass seed germination. The seedlings should have enough time to develop leaves prior to leaf fall.
  • When to plant grass seed? It is best to sow grass seed for shade before the arrival of fall season. This makes sure that the sprouted grass seeds are not covered by leaves fallen from the deciduous trees in the yard.
  • Using seed spreader, sow seeds to cover the area. You can use a garden rake to lightly cover grass seeds with soil. Water lightly after sowing, and if possible, cover seeds with straw to avoid drying.
  • Even though bluegrass is a fast growing grass variety, applying fertilizer is indicated to promote healthy growth. The same is with saint augustine grass and fescue grass. You can select lawn fertilizer with less nitrogen content.
  • Avoid overfeeding lawn grass, or it will increase grass maintenance level. Excess fertilization not only leads to rapid growth of grass and thatch buildup, but it also increases risk for disease infestation.
  • Last but not the least, reduce shading effect of shrubs and tall trees. What you can do is trim off the branches that are at 6 feet height from the lawn grass. This will enhance air circulation and light penetration to the grasses.
Follow correct grass growing tips to maintain a uniform green lawn. In case, you notice thinning patches or grasses that are getting dried, it may be a sign of reduced light intensity. For heavy shade condition, planting shade tolerant ground covers is a better idea than growing grass seed for shade. So, make a prompt decision and proceed with your gardening project.