6 Steps For Growing Grass In Shade

You have worked so hard the last few months or even years on your lawn but it always seems to leave you either broke, frustrated, or even both. Everything you have done seems to help for just a little while but only to return to the same old problems you have year in and year out.

So, you may wonder, why does my grass do well in some areas and then be thin or nonexistent in others?

This question is simple but not easy. Actually, there are many variables the play a part in our lawn’s overall success, some of which we have discussed in other blogs.  (Ph, soil type, nutrients, water, etc…)

However, in this article we will discuss the most common mistake homeowners make across West Tennessee and Southeast Missouri. How much sunlight do you get. The amount of sunlight you receive to a specific turf type will make all the difference in the world.

Now you may ask, how much sunlight does my lawn get over the course of the day?

You can get a good idea how much sunlight you are getting in a certain area by doing a little monitoring. Go outside once an hour and take a look and be sure to write it down. But remember, our trees usually drop leaves in the fall and replace them the following spring. This DOES have an impact on the proper choice of turf depending on the time of the year you are looking.

Next, not all types of turf are the same.

Most people struggling with establishing their lawn, have trouble growing grass under the drip lines of trees or in other shaded parts of the lawn. This is common. The reason for this is because our typical turf here in West Tennessee and Southeast Missouri is Bermudagrass. It is a warm season turf that thrives in the summer when in full sunlight. Unfortunately, (as of now) your Bermudagrass will not grow or at least do well in shaded areas that get less than 8-10 hours of sunlight per day. Zoysiagrass is another warm season turf in our area that may help in filtered sunlight but would still need at least 4-6 hours of sunlight per day to thrive.

So, what can we plant in those shaded areas?

Fescue or Ryegrass is a great cool season grass that does well in shaded (not 100% shade) areas. It thrives during the cool months and struggles during the hot ones. Fescue or Ryegrass does not spread on its own, like Bermudagrass and Zoysiagrass. Therefore, it will need to be seeded initially and then over seeded periodically (annually in late summer or early fall) to keep it well established.

We have now approached the time of the year to get your cool season grasses (or shady grass types) seeded. Mid-September through Mid-October is the best time to seed or over seed your shaded areas. Fall seeding for cool season grasses allow plenty of time for your seed to germinate and establish a strong root system prior to the heat of next summer. Spring seeding when done can be a struggle for cool season grasses since hot weather would be right around the corner for such a young tender plant. Seeding in general is a slow process and requires patience.  But with proper implementation, care, and by following the below steps, seeding your thin or bare spots in your lawn can pay huge dividends going in to fall, winter, and next spring.

Here are 6 ways to ensure your seeding’s success.

  1. Perform soil analysis-(add soil amendments as needed)
  2. Choose turf type- (sun/shade/partial sun)
  3. Aerate or Disk- (relive compaction and break up soil)
  4. Apply proper rate of seed (lbs. per 1,000sqft)
  5. Apply starter fertilizer
  6. Apply precipitation through irrigation or rainfall

If you have more questions about your lawn or how to get a FREE soil analysis/consultation/ estimate, please let us know. We will be glad to help get you all the information you need to get the right plan for you and your needs.

Have a great week,




P.S. Got Bugs or Termite Protection? Our sister company, Okeena Termite and Pest Control, would love to talk to you. Free inspections and/or consultation on what’s best for you and your home.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *