Many Atlanta homeowners are fortunate to have properties shaded with large, beautiful trees which offer relief from the sun during the long hot summer months in the South. Shade is a great thing when it comes to saving on energy bills and keeping the yard cooler, but keeping a lawn green and healthy in a shady environment can also be tricky. The question of how to grow grass in shade is first answered in choosing the appropriate grass. If you are a homeowner looking for the best grass for shade in Atlanta, we are excited to share this article with you to help achieve your best yard yet.
The Best St. Augustine Grass for Shade in Atlanta
If you are interested in a St. Augustine grass because you love the look of a thick blade, Palmetto® St. Augustine is hands-down the way to go for your shady Atlanta lawn. Palmetto St. Augustine is the most sold patented turfgrass in the world with over two billion sq. ft. sold in its lifetime, and it just so happens that its qualities are extremely well suited for Atlanta’s climate and shady conditions. This grass demonstrates excellent cold, heat, drought and—perhaps most importantly—shade tolerance.
St. Augustines are already known to be the most shade tolerant warm season turfgrass varieties. Palmetto, in particular, is a superior St. Augustine variety that outcompetes other St. Augustines in their shade tolerance. Atlanta’s varying temperatures and weather patterns demand a grass that can handle an array of conditions, and Palmetto St. Augustine certainly rises to the occasion.
The Best Zoysia Grass for Shade in Atlanta
A zoysia grass developed by Kansas State and Texas A&M University known for its versatility, ability to withstand cold temperatures and superior shade tolerance is InnovationTM Zoysia. If you’re an Atlanta homeowner who really admires the finer-bladed look for a home lawn, Innovation is your best choice. Zoysia grasses rank second in shade tolerance with St. Augustines taking the lead. When selecting a zoysia grass specifically, a general rule of thumb to remember is the thinner the blade width, the more shade tolerant the variety. Loved by homeowners for its beautiful dark green, medium-to-fine textured blades, Innovation is great for curb appeal.
Another plus of Innovation is that it is easy to maintain and fast growing, making it a grass that recovers well. The fact that Innovation Zoysia can also handle the shade is the cherry on top of a perfect lawn!
Geo® Zoysia is another zoysia grass option for shady Atlanta lawns. Geo is known among other zoysia grasses for its standout shade tolerance when compared to similar zoysia varieties. Its fine-bladed, dark green texture creates a beautiful aesthetic for home lawns.
The Best Bermudagrass for Shade in Atlanta
When it comes to bermudagrasses best suited for shady Atlanta lawns, one variety stands out from the pack. Celebration® Bermudagrass is a deep blue-green turfgrass that has finished best in numerous university research studies for wear tolerance and recovery, drought resistance and tolerance and bermudagrass shade tolerance.
If your shady Atlanta yard is used by pets or for family play, Celebration is a great option because of its hardy strength and ability to recover. Although bermudagrasses are not as shade tolerant as St. Augustines or zoysia grasses, Celebration is the most shade tolerant bermudagrass available—so if you are really set on installing a bermudagrass in your shady lawn, Celebration should be your top choice.
Celebration Bermudagrass’s striking blue-green color and notable durability has made it popular not only for home applications, but also for golf courses and sports fields.
Once you’ve selected a shade tolerant variety for your Atlanta home lawn, it should be known that maintaining your turfgrass a little higher in mowing height provides a greater surface area for the grass to photosynthesize the reduced sunlight it receives.
Be sure to also keep an eye out for any disease outbreaks that may occur in the areas that receive less sunlight. Any turfgrass grown in wet, shady environments is prone to fungal disease. Shade tolerant grasses often struggle or die from disease pressure, not necessarily from lack of sunlight. When selecting a shade tolerant grass to grow in a shady landscape, be sure to budget for several applications of systemic fungicide per year. Check out some of our available fungicides online by clicking the button below.
Selecting a grass that performs well in shade is important, but it’s even more important to find a variety that will thrive in the area you live in. If you don’t live in Atlanta, Sod University has articles on The Best Grass for Shade in Florida and The Best Grass for Shade in the Carolinas.