Shady Lawns

Growing turfgrass in deep shade is a challenge. It is important to understand that shade conditions require different grasses and different cultural procedures than sunny conditions. Kentucky bluegrass varieties do not, in general, grow well in the shade. Therefore, a grass such as red fescue will often be found under large trees. In some cases, turfgrasses simply cannot survive under the heavy shade produced by trees such as Norway maple. In these extreme situations, the homeowner should consider planting shade-adapted groundcovers such as English ivy, pachysandra, or myrtle.

To give turfgrass the best chance to grow in the shade, consider these points:

1. Plant red fescue varieties. The best are Wintergreen, Ruby, Oasis and Pennlawn.

2. Raise the mowing height so that there will be more leaf blade to capture whatever light there may be.

3. Prune branches out of large trees so that more light can get through. It is particularly important to remove branches below the 10 ft. level. This is often the best thing for the trees as well.

4. Water infrequently but heavily. Approximately 1-1/2 to 2 inches of water in one application per week will usually provide sufficient moisture through the summer months. Because local conditions vary, occasionally check to see if soil is moist at the 4-6 inch level.

5. Control traffic in shaded areas as much as possible. Turfgrasses in the shade are not wear-tolerant and can be badly damaged by excessive use.

6. Finally, one of the most important and most neglected is to keep leaves raked up in the fall. If they are left on the ground to accumulate, they shut off light to the grass. The fall is the most important time of the year for root development and if light does not reach the grass, root growth is considerably suppressed.

These tips are designed to help inform you about proper cultural practices such as mowing and watering and common basic lawn problems that may arise. If you ever have any concerns about your lawn or our services please call us.

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