Lawns in the Shade – Grass Types and Growing Tips

Whether you are laying down turf in a new garden or finding your lawn just fails to take properly in shady areas, there are tips that can help – it all starts with choosing the right grass type.

As the winter sun gets lower in the sky, sunlight decreases, shaded areas deepen and your lawn is likely to show signs of stress. In this case trimming over-hanging branches to allow more access to sunlight could be the first action to take that will encourage lawn growth.

On housing estates where sites are often small, the proximity of neighbouring buildings may affect the growth of your lawn. In this case, check how much sun an area receives in a day and take this into account when you choose the grass type best suited to your property. Even heavily shaded areas need at least 2-3 hours of direct sunlight for your lawn to grow. In any area that has more than 70 percent shade consider alternatives such as Mondo grass, or other stand-alone grasses, which tolerate deep shade conditions – alternatively, plant a ground-cover.

Buffalo is a hardy grass that will grow in full sun as well as in areas of semi-shade. This indigenous grass requires less regular watering and mowing and is also less susceptible to fungus diseases.

LM Berea is a soft leaf grass that excels in shaded and semi-shaded areas; it exhibits a higher shade tolerance than most other grass types making it a popular first choice for many South Africans.

It is important to avoid over-watering grass in shady areas. Water-logging could result in diseases that will negatively affect your lawn.

When mowing, never cut more than 1/3 off the leaf blade. The grass needs a larger blade surface to help photosynthesize in areas with little access to sun. Berea is a lighter green that Buffalo, and is slightly less hardy. It is able to tolerate medium levels of traffic.


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