How Do I Grow a Healthy Lawn in a Shady Area?

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Everyone loves a property full of trees, shrubs, and lots of vegetation. After all, plants provide oxygen, help block sound, and provide us with tons of privacy. But how in the world can you grow a healthy lawn with all that shade? I mean, isn’t grass supposed to get a ton of sunlight?

The short answer is yes. You probably remember back in grade school learning about a really long word called photosynthesis. Photosynthesis is the process by which plants take light energy from the sun and convert it into sugar and carbohydrates. Plants use these sugars and carbs for energy. Energy they need to survive and remain healthy. 

So, does this mean you have to give up your beloved trees and plants? Apart from using a bulldozer to mull them over or relocating, is there anything you can do?

Ecolawn has you covered. We’re here to offer you a few tips and ideas that can help you boost life back into your turf even when faced with an abundance of shade. 

Tips for Growing Healthy Grass Even in Shade

Certain Types of Grass Grow Better in Shade

First, let’s start with the type of grass you have. Here in Ohio, we have cool-season grasses. Turfgrasses such as Tall fescue, Kentucky bluegrass, and ryegrass all fall under the category of cool-season. Unlike warm-season grasses, which typically like warm weather and grow in late spring, cool-season turf types grow better in the spring and fall. While most types of grass need four to six hours of direct sunlight to survive, there are specific types of grasses that are more shade tolerant. These include:

  • Fine Fescue
  • Bluegrass 
  • Ryegrass

At Ecolawn, we recommend using a mix of shade-tolerant blends. Each can fill in for the other if one fails, increasing your odds of growing strong, lush grass. 

How to Care for Grass Covered in Shade

Okay, so now you have your grass planted. But with all the shade your trees and shrubs create, it doesn’t fill in like in the sunny areas. What other tips can you do to help keep your lawn from looking like a drought-ridden dust ball?

Mow Less, Keep Grass Longer

You can start with keeping your grass a bit longer. Increase the level at which you keep your turf by one inch. Doing so increases root growth and gives the grass a better opportunity for photosynthesis. Grass that grows in the shade should not be mowed less than three inches tall. 

Another tip you can follow when mowing is to change direction from one mowing to the next. This helps to prevent damage and soil compaction. 

Use Fertilizer but More Sparingly

While grass in the shade tends to grow at a slower pace simply because it receives less sun, fertilizer is still essential for promoting strength and durability. Just be sure to give your shaded grass one-half to two-thirds less nitrogen than grass in direct sunlight.

Add a Layer of Compost

Adding a layer of compost will help give your roots an extra dose of nutrients. Make sure the compost layer is thin enough that you can still see the grass blades after applying. You can take a push broom or rake for easy spreading. 

Stick to a Strict Irrigation Schedule

Despite your turf being enveloped by shade, you still need to follow a strict water schedule. Grass shaded by trees doesn't receive as much sunlight, but the trees' canopies often prevent rainwater from getting through. So be sure to utilize a routine watering schedule soaking the ground deeply but infrequently. 

Open Up Your Soil With Liquid Aeration

To ensure water, sunlight and nutrients are reaching the roots of your shaded grass; we recommend having your lawn aerated once a year. Our liquid aeration will help open up your soil, promote water drainage, and allow more sunlight and nutrients to reach into and penetrate the roots. 

Prune Your Trees

Just because you may not want to cut down your beloved lawn decorations doesn’t mean you can’t trim and prune their branches. You’d be surprised how much more sunlight you create just by pruning a few limbs. 

We offer an environmental approach to lawn care, tree and shrub care, and even perimeter pest control. Our full-service programs can help improve the look and health of your yard with natural-based fertilizers, weed control, surface insect control, and, most of all, exceptional customer service.

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