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Advanced Lawn Care

How to grow grass in the shade

4 min read

clean and rim grass in shade

Are you wondering how it is possible to grow grass in the shade? Most people want to have a garden with a perfect lawn, but they're not sure how to achieve it. If the weather conditions are ideal, the objective is not very difficult as long as you are willing to give it the necessary maintenance. However when your lawn receives few hours or no direct sun, achieving a healthy, green lawn is quite a challenge. Is it possible? Yes, but there are some aspects that you must take into account to achieve it.

Here are a few tips and tricks on how to grow grass in the shade.

How does shortage or lack of direct sunlight affect us?

All plants convert light into food through photosynthesis. The quality of the light is not the same if it comes directly from the sun or if it was filtered by the treetops or reflected by the surroundings. Plants react differently to these conditions. Species adapted to live in direct sun do not support the scarcity of it and they die or have a very low growth rate, but there are others that are adapted. All plants that grow in nature in the lower layers of mountains, forests and jungles can grow without receiving direct sunlight.

You have to be very attentive to many factors to achieve the best lawn.

green grass and swing in shade under tree

Plant growth rate

The growth rate in places with little direct sunlight is very low, this directly affects the frequency of watering and cutting, which will be less than in full sun. In mid-shade or shade, the evaporation rate is relatively low, and this is why the water stays much longer in the soil than in spaces in full sun. If you go overboard with irrigation, you run the risk of algae and mosses appearing to compete with the species you want to cultivate, fungi and bacteria that affect development and that soil conditions are changing and affect the correct nutrition of plants.

Trampling

Growing slower than in full sun, it takes a long time for grass species grown in half shade or shade to recover from intense trampling. Therefore, you have to limit the use of these spaces and regulate it to their possibilities. If you know that space is going to be intensely trampled, you have to resort to other alternatives.

Trees

In most cases, these shaded or half shaded conditions occur under the canopy of the trees. You have to be very attentive to the sweep of the leaves that are falling, since these will affect even more the limited light conditions. Tree roots also often compete for resources such as water and nutrients with grass roots, requiring us to constantly pay attention to soil moisture and fertility.

Cutting height

Generally the cutting height is five to nine centimeters, higher than in full sun. Lower cuts directly affect the light absorbing surface and do not allow the plant to grow well.

If you are not willing, or do not have the time to maintain a lawn struggling to grow in shading conditions, there are other options to improve your lawn.

lawn with trimmed grass and trees

Synthetic Materials

Broken stone

This is an interesting option for busy spaces as it does not deteriorate, does not require much maintenance and is inexpensive. Depending on the color of the stone that you install, you will achieve different effects. White split stone is a very interesting alternative since it reflects all the light and prioritizes these spaces.

Synthetic grass

Nowadays you can get synthetic grass of excellent quality, very realistic, which you will only notice that it is not a real grass when you are on the lawn itself. It is an expensive option, not only because of the material but because of the labor costs. The pre-leveling and planning must be done by an expert. In busy spaces or that will be used for recreational activities it is worth having it as an option.

Living materials

Ground cover plants

If the shaded lawn area doesn't have a lot of heavy foot traffic, these types of plants are a very interesting option. They are usually used not only for ornamental purposes, but also to prevent soil erosion, since their roots maintain their structure. There are many options including, ivy and ornamental grass. Their maintenance is minimal compared to ordinary grass.

Wood chips

Wood chips or mulch can be applied alone or together with ground cover plants. A mulch of this material prevents erosion and superficial compaction, helps to preserve soil moisture for longer, provides nutrients as it decomposes and reduces the growth and development of weeds.

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