What do most plants need to grow and thrive?

Water is one, feed is another and of course there is light. Having enough light can be a real issue for many plants. Especially when there are trees and buildings nearby.

Lawns can quickly show the effects of being too shaded.

Will grass grow in the shade?
Some grasses need full sun or almost full sun to perform but there are a few grasses that need as little as four to six hours of direct sun to survive. And that light doesn’t have to be full sun. Four to six hours of dappled or filtered sunlight can fuel the growth of a healthy lawn.

What types of grass grow better in shade?
Variety Selection is crucial for success. For cool-season grass, rye and tall fescues offer the most shade tolerance. Couches generally prefer full sun and Kikuyu will tolerate about 20% shade well. The best warm-season grasses that grow in some shade include Buffalo and Zoysia.

Sir Walter is a fantastic choice for a shaded yard in SA tolerating up to 70% Shade.

When to install?
Installation for shady areas is best done in Spring and Summer so that your lawn had time to establish well before our cold winters.

What can be done to improve shaded turf?
Removing lower limbs allows sunlight to reach soil beneath. Pruning interior branches to open the tree canopy permits more sunlight to pass through

Mowing in shady spots?
In shade, mow approx. 2 cm higher than in sunny lawn areas. This gives individual grass plants more leaf area to capture the limited sunlight that’s available. Try to alternate mowing directions each time you mow.
Avoid scalping shade-grown grass. Shady lawns can’t tolerate even one scalping; it thins them and they may not recover. Lawn is thinner in shady areas.

Growing conditions for grass are tough in the shade. Aim to eliminate any stress the grass experiences, such as foot traffic. Insert stepping stones to protect grass from being trampled and fertilise to keep well fed. Grasses in shady areas need one-half to two-thirds as much nitrogen as sunny lawns.

What about watering shaded lawn?
If your shade is caused by a building, you don’t need to water more frequently. Grass in shady areas doesn’t use water as quickly as their sunny counterparts. Lawns will not like constant wet feet and may be prone to rotting and disease. However, under a tree rainfall doesn’t always penetrate the tree canopy to reach soil beneath and tree roots absorb available moisture, so you might require more watering. It is best to monitor the soil moisture and water as needed. Deep irregular watering will encourage roots to go deeper reaching more water and nutrient in the soil.

For all your turf questions and products head to The Turf Farm website.






About The Author

In the Garden is an exciting new local South Australian TV program on Channel 9 this Summer & next Autumn showcasing the best ‘green’ stories this state has to tell. Check out the latest in garden trends, new plants and top tips to keep those gardens blooming.