A lawn would look pretty bare if it had no trees, shrubs or ornamentation. Lawns that have too many trees can block out the sun. providing precious little for the grass below. Planting grass seed that has been specifically developed to thrive in shady areas can help keep lawns green and looking beautiful. The difference in a full, well cared for lawn and one that looks spotty and unkempt can lie solely in the type of seeds or sod used to create it.
Shade vs. Sunny Seeds
The main difference is in grass seeds developed for shade and those developed for full sun can be seen in how the blades form. A good shade seed tends to have blades that are much thinner than those of seed types that prefer full sun. Thin blades require less sun to survive and thrive. Dicot, or wide blades, of grass have more surface area so more nutrients can be absorbed from the sun’s light.
Grasses grown in the shade normally have longer stems that must branch out farther to capture as much sunlight as possible. Because they are more spread out than turf grass that thrives in full sun, they are also less likely to withstand heavy amounts of foot traffic. Golf courses and playing fields do well with grass seed that is designed for full sun. Large lawns, however, must have grass that will also survive in shade. Using a combination of both shade and full sun grass seed works well and accommodates for both areas.
Lawns that are exposed to intermittent amounts of sunlight or have full sun for several hours of the day can be laid with a sun/shade mix that is made up of both types of seed types. The benefit of grass seed for shade is that it can be planted almost anywhere. In shady areas, the shade seed thrives and vice versa for areas with full sun. Both grasses planted together gives the lawn a uniform and balanced look, with each type of grass thriving where it does best.
Different varieties of grass thrive in different conditions. The elevation of the land, the amount of moisture a lawn receives, the amount of sun it is exposed to and the amount of traffic and stress it must endure will all have an affect on the seed once it has been planted.
- St. Augustine – St. Augustine grass is hardy and survive in several different types of conditions. It grows well in desert areas as long as it receives adequate moisture. Planting a mixture of St. Augustine grass seed with varieties of fescues can help create a green, lush lawn that grows well in indirect sunlight.
- Zoysia – Zoysia grass seed for shade does well when planted from seed or laid in sod. This type of seed grows moderately well in full shaded areas, but like others may do offer better coverage when combined with other types of seed.
- Buffalo Grass – Buffalo grass seed for shade is extremely hardy and durable. It survives moderately well in indirect sunlight if it receives enough water. Mixing buffalo grass seed with other seed types that are also shade tolerant will allow for a more balanced and full look.
Best Selling Brands
There are several popular name brands that offer quality grass seed that will grow in both indirect sunlight and partial shade. Most offer seed combinations that include one or more of the combinations of seed types that thrive in all types of sun.
Scotts Sun and Shade
Scotts Turf Builder Sun and Shade Grass Seed Mix is specifically designed to grow and thrive in both direct and indirect sunlight. Able to absorb twice as much water as regular seed, this combination is able to produce extremely thick and vibrant coverage even in the thickest shade. Spreads quickly and aggressively to cover areas where other grass may have thinned out.
Jonathan Green Dense Shade
Jonathan Green’s Dense Shade Grass Seed Mix grows well in thick as well as partial shade. It has an extremely hardy nature and does not need excessive amounts of water to thrive. It’s formulation also helps to reduce pests and resist bacteria and other elements that can damage grass and cause it to weaken.
Pennington Shade Mix
Pennington Tall Fescue Shade Mix Grass Seed works well when blended with other grasses designed to grow well in shade. Tall Fescue grass seed for shade will grow in shade if the area to be covered is fairly small. When planting larger areas, however, using a combination works best.