Lawn grasses love the sun and need it to thrive.
Grass growing in the shade does not get enough sunlight for vigorous growth. The lawn will be thin, often lighter in color and more vulnerable to disease.
Tree roots also compete with grass for water and nutrients. During dry weather you can sometimes see this when the grass under trees appears brown and drier than that in the rest of the lawn. Some trees also give off hormones which kill any plants growing in their root zone.
These factors make it difficult to have a nice thick lawn in a shady area. However, there are some things you can do to improve the situation.
- Be sure the lawn gets fed well in spring and fall when there are no leaves on the trees. More sunlight can reach the grass plants so they can manufacture food and since tree roots are less active there will be less competition for nutrients too.
- Overseed as needed in the fall with shade tolerant grasses. This will need to be done at least every other year to replace plants which have died out.
- Thin the tree branches if possible to let in more light.
- If the shade is very dense the best solution is to mulch under the trees or plant a shade tolerant ground cover like English Ivy.
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