Best Grass That Grows In Shade With Lawn Care Tips

Grass that grows in shade is the grass that is optimal for shaded areas of your yard. It doesn’t have to be areas that are always shaded and in fact, won’t survive if there isn’t any sunlight at all. Because all plants need sunlight.

Grass that grow in shade
image from: Heynssens + Grassman, Inc

What Is Grass That Grows In Shade?

You see, just as all humans need food and water, so do all plants. Some need more than others and some need less. Grass that grows in the shade is grass that needs less food than other grasses. So that’s a good place to start.

After you find the right grass, then it’s time to learn how to take care of it. Warm-season grass is easier to care for in the summer while cool-season grass is easier in the fall and winter. Let’s learn more about that.

Cool Season Vs. Warm Season Grass That Grows In Shade

Grass that grow in shade

It is very important to find the right grass for your season and your climate. If you’re unsure which climate you live in then you need to buy a thermometer to test your soil temperature. This will let you know which grass to get.

But in general, as expected, cool-season grass grows better in the shade than warm-season grass. Because warm-season grass needs a lot of sunshine yet can survive harsher summers and higher temperatures.

If cool-season grasses get too much intense sun then they can dry out and turn brown. The perfect temperature is room temperature, which is about 65 to 75 degrees Fahrenheit. This works perfectly for summer days in the shade.

Best Grass For Shade

Grass that grow in shade
image from: TOPOS Architects, Inc

It isn’t easy to know which grass to use for your shady area, but after you find out, it isn’t all that difficult to find that grass. Grass seed can be purchased at any home and garden department or at many places online.

So when searching for grass seed for your shaded areas, find these types of grass seed. Because most grass won’t come in patches of sod. Most grass starts out with grass seed, some rowing faster than others.

St. Augustine

St. Augustine is a thick green grass that is warm-season grass, making it the most shade-tolerant warm-season grass you can get. They do need at least five hours of sunlight a day and want more, however.

But all warm-season grasses need more sunlight than most cold-season grasses. But as far as warm-season grasses go, St. Augustine has the others beat for survivability in the cold and in the shade.


Fescue grass has dark green narrow leaves and has a higher shade tolerance than any other cool-season grass. This is because it has deep roots so it can stay a more constant and even temperature and isn’t as exposed to the elements.

Fine fescue is the best option, recognized by its fine texture. It needs a few hours of sunlight each day to survive. This and the deep roots it possesses is why it’s easy to grow in most climates.


Yep, like the genre of music. This greenish-blue grass is very shade-tolerant as well. It can also survive with minimal sunlight, requiring about four hours a day, with room for less every once in a while.

Bluegrass is also a fast-growing grass with sprouts in as little as five days. The grass will be quite noticeable in about two weeks which is great for grass that grows in the shade, which tends to take longer.


This thick grass is soft and luscious. It is another warm-season grass that needs about six hours of sunlight each day. The cultivator with this type of grass matters a lot. So do your research on those.

Now if you have a cold climate and get a lot of shade, zoysia may not do the best. But if you are somewhere in the middle and want the grass to grow under your trees, then it can thrive in your yard.


Centipede may be a funny name, but this creeping grass can survive a lot. It is a warm-season grass that has a lot of spunk. It needs at least six hours of sunlight a day but survives just as well as a centipede does.

The grass gives a nice carpet of grass which just may prevent other grass and weeds from growing. So make sure that it is what you want before you plant the seed or else you won’t be able to experiment.


Ryegrass is a dark green grass with a fine texture. While it isn’t best for shaded areas, it does do okay in the shade. It wants sun but doesn’t need as much as other grasses that prefer the sun if that makes sense.

It needs at least four hours of sunlight a day but doesn’t need more. And it will also stay green for years at a time if you let it. So even when there is a frost, ryegrass tends to look healthy again soon after.

Tips For Planting Grass For Shady Areas

Grass that grow in shade
image from: Richard Lusk Landscape and Design

Grass often struggles to grow in shady areas for a variety of reasons. If you want to use grass that isn’t optimal for shady areas but still want it to thrive, then go ahead and follow a few simple steps.

Prune The Trees

The main reason why shady areas have grass that isn’t as healthy growing under them is because the sunlight is restricted. Pruning lower branches will open up the area underneath the tree and increase sun exposure.

But that’s not all it does. It can also increase the amount of wind flow which will help the natural process of germination the grass goes through and reduce the humidity. This in turn will reduce the chances of diseases and fungi.

Minimize Traffic

This is important when the grass is young but can be implemented throughout its life. Grass will get traffic and there’s not a problem with that. The problem arises when the traffic is overboard.

If you have pets, then do your best not to let them do their duties under the trees either. Because the grass has a hard enough time staying green, it’s best to make it as easy as possible for the grass in shade.

Use Fertilizer

Using the right brand of grass seed is important but so is fertilizing the grass. Most people realize that grass is a plant too but they often fail to fertilize the grass when they fertilize their other plants.

You will need to reseed your grass a few times a year and fertilize it when you fertilize your other plants. This, along with the other tips we have offered, will keep it healthy and thriving all year long.

Give It A Drink

Grass that grow in shade
image from GT Design, Inc.

The problem with planting under trees is that the tree often takes up all of the water and nutrition. So when this happens, you need to overwater the area so that everyone gets the moisture that they need.

Although during the rainy season you don’t need to water the grass at all, during the dry season, it’s important to stay on top of things. Keep the small plants watered when they are near large ones.

Aerate The Soil

Packed soil that is too compressed doesn’t grow plants very well and grass tends to not do too well. You can help this by tilling the area before you plant your grass and aerating the soil whenever you can.

You can get aerators that attach to the bottom of your shoes or you can get a rolling aerator to use after you mow. Doing them both the same day saves time. A good option is to wear the aerator shoes while push mowing!

Grass that grow in shade


Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)FAQ

What Is The Best Grass That Grows In Shade?

Two of the most popular grasses that grow in the shade are St. Augustine grass and Zoysia grass. Though there are other options, these are safe and work in most climates.

Is There Ornamental Grass That Grows In Shade?

Yes. A few ornamental types of grass that grow in the shade include mosquito grass and Berkeley sedge. These two beauties do well without much sun and can transform any yard.

Will Turfgrass Grow In Shade?

Turfgrass needs full sun to thrive. Lay it in full sun. Even those that are tolerant of the shade will do much better in the sun so you will notice a difference in the tone and vitality.

What Fertilizer Helps Grass Grow In Shade?

Look for a fertilizer with more phosphorous and less nitrogen. This will give your shade grass the best chance. 

When You’ve Tried Everything For Grass That Grows In Shade

If you feel like you’ve tried everything but to no avail, then it’s time to call an expert. Soft landscapers are your best bet as far as contractors go. They can get the grass up and going in no time for you to enjoy.

So don’t be afraid to contact one today because the price is often worth it. If you seem to spend an endless amount of money trying to make things work when you could have saved money by having an expert take a look.

The expert can also give you personalized tips to help the grass thrive. They know the area like the back of their hand and know what works firsthand. So give it a try if you feel like it would be a safer route and don’t seal the dirt in.