“Which is the best grass for shade?” is one of our most frequently-asked questions.
Shade is one of the most challenging landscape issues. All turfgrass varieties are grown in full sun so transplanting them to a shady area is a big shock. Sod Solutions has top-ranked shade performers, according to numerous research studies, but we recommend that even shade-tolerant grasses receive a minimum of four hours of sunlight per day to survive and thrive.
Keep in mind that shaded areas typically stay wet longer, placing them at higher risk of fungus and disease. Shady areas also are less able to recover from heavy traffic and usually will be competing with tree roots for water and nutrients.
Shady areas beneath trees and tall shrubs can be lightened up by pruning limbs and thinning the canopy so that sunlight can penetrate to the grass beneath. With trees, removing lower branches is a good idea to raise the canopy and to allow sunlight to reach the turf by slanting in beneath branches. It also helps to keep grass in shady areas one-half to one inch taller than in the sunny parts of your yard. Testing a couple of pieces or plugs in an area where you are considering planting is the best way to determine whether an area is too shady. If it is, using larger beds with landscape plants better suited for shade sometimes is a better option.
At Sod Solutions, one of our top grass for shade is Palmetto® St. Augustine. With more than one billion square feet sold, Palmetto is the most-purchased patented turfgrass in the world. It demonstrates superior shade, cold, frost, heat and drought tolerance. It is used from the Carolinas to California under a wide range of climate and soil conditions, making it the ideal choice for residential and commercial use. Palmetto St. Augustine is a hardy, low-maintenance variety with an outstanding emerald green color. It performs well in full sun, yet also thrives in shaded areas with three to four hours of direct daily sunlight.
GeoZoysiaTM is another Sod Solutions top performer in shady areas. A fine-bladed zoysia grass with a deep green color, Geo has good to excellent shade tolerance compared with other zoysias. It is extremely wear tolerant, making it a top choice for golf courses as well as residential lawns.
Sod Solutions partners with universities and turf grass farms across the country to conduct ongoing research that addresses general turf issues. One ongoing project at the University of Georgia Griffin Campus is studying how Sod Solutions’ Palmetto® St. Augustine, Empire Turf® zoysia grass, Geo Zoysia and Celebration Bermudagrass® perform under the shade of oak trees.