How to make grass grow in the shade: three expert tips

Alina MilsentNews
Garden arrangement. Source: Created with the help of AI

It would seem that growing a lawn on a personal plot is a simple task. You sow the grass and it grows. In practice, it's not so simple, and instead of a bright green lawn, sparse yellowish grass grows unevenly.

In shady areas and under spreading trees, grass can grow slowly at all. These areas are exposed to low light conditions, and the lawn competes with the trees for nutrients. Experienced gardeners told us how to make grass grow in the shade.

Tip 1: Choose shade-tolerant grass seeds

It's important to know what types of grasses are best to grow in your region and climate. If you have shady areas in your yard, experts recommend planting seeds of shade-tolerant grasses, such as ryegrass, thin and tall fescue, and zoysia. These grasses are resistant to shade, drought, and low nutrient levels.

"The best time to sow is in early spring or late fall," said Claire Beglin, a landscape designer at Toolstation.

Tip 2: Trim tree branches regularly

It is difficult for grass to grow under thick, spreading branches. You can periodically trim the lower branches of the tree to lift the crown of overgrown plants or thin out the entire crown of the tree. This will increase the amount of light that reaches the grass.

Another factor that makes it difficult to grow grass under trees can be excessive leaves and debris. It is important to rake up fallen leaves regularly - they can be reused for compost or mulch.

Tip 3: Water and fertilize your lawn regularly

Lawns in the shade are best fertilized in the fall, before the leaves begin to fall from the trees. Choose fertilizers rich in potassium, as this element helps keep the roots healthy and allows plants to withstand winter weather more easily.

Trees prevent rainwater from reaching the lawn, and even if some moisture reaches the ground, it will be absorbed by the tree roots rather than the grass. So you should take care of optimal watering. It is best to water the lawn before 10 am to avoid water loss due to evaporation.

It would be nice to have a grass-free zone of at least one meter around the tree.

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