Monday, April 11, 2016

7 Ways to Help Your Lawn Beat the Shade

Working on a slide show with tips on working with a shady lawn

Here is the full text version

7 Ways to Help Your Lawn Beat the Shade
Turf King wants you to have a nice lawn- even in the shade. Remember your lawn needs at least three to four hours of direct sunlight or filtered sunlight all day during the growing season.  If your lawn doesn't receive enough light, it becomes weak and thin.
1- Reduce the amount of lawn in too much shade
In deep shade areas, such as woods or near the north side of a building, there may not be enough light to sustain any growth of grass.  Save your efforts for those areas where you are likely to have some success. In heavy shade, it would be wise to consider a ground cover such as myrtle, ivy, or trailing euonymus that grow well in shade.
2- Mow shady lawns higher
Grass in shaded areas should be cut 1/2 inch higher than lawns in full sun. This will allow the larger amount of leaf surface to utilize available light.
3- Adjust the Trees for more sunlight
More sunlight will reach the lawn by pruning of trees and shrubs throughout the year.  One method is to thin out branches to allow more filtered light. Often just removing the lower branches of a tree will allow enough sunlight to reach the lawn and keep the grass growing well.
4-Supply extra food and water
Tree roots compete with grass for moisture in the soil. The grass doesn’t grow well if not enough water is provided.  Periodically check your lawn in shady areas to see that it is kept moist, especially during the drier summer and early fall months. Despite rain, the canopy of the trees may keep moisture from the lawn below and a sprinkling might be necessary. Trees also take nutrients out of the soil. Therefore, shady areas may need extra fertilizer to allow the development of stronger grass roots.

5-Choose shade tolerant grasses
Different grasses species are more tolerant of low light situations than others. Fescues are grasses that will tolerate lower light levels than Kentucky bluegrass. Don’t place sod in shady areas as most sod consists of Kentucky bluegrass.. Make sure to use a quality shade grass seed mix.
6-Overseed in the shade
Overseed shady areas to increase the grass population. In very heavy shade, this may need to be done each year. Make sure to use a quality shade grass seed mix. The best time to plant seed in the shade is the early spring, before the leaves come on trees.  This allows them to get maximum sun for germination.  There is also no problem from falling leaves to smother young grass seedlings. 
The next best time is August.  This will allow seedlings to become established before leaves begin to fall. Be sure to provide adequate water.
7 Watch out for other problems
In shady areas, mildew diseases may be more prevalent. Reduce shade and increase air flow to combat mildew. 
Moss can also be a problem in shady areas. Moss is present due to shade, acidity, poor drainage, or lack of nutrients. You may not be able to reduce the shade but working on the acidity, drainage and fertility may be enough to combat moss.
On the positive side, most insect problems are reduced on shady lawns.
More Lawn info at Lawn Library

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