How to Get Grass to Grow Beneath Trees


Growing grass in very shaded areas can be a difficult task. Many homeowners want a lush green lawn but do not want to extinguish the trees spread through the yard. There is room for both in a healthy attractive lawn. Fescues grow best in the shaded areas near trees. These fine leafed seeds can be mixed with a Kentucky Blue Grass for a more appealing nature, but the fescue must be the dominant seed.

Step 1

Prune the tree limbs to allow for more sunlight to filter through to the ground. Remove lower limbs to a height of 6 feet. Cut the limb at the base of the trunk, leaving a small stub. Do not cut flush with the trunk; this will allow disease into the tree.

Step 2

Fertilize the area only once per year. Slow growing grass does not use as much fertilizer as the rest of the lawn. Fertilizing more often will cause damage to the grass. Spread a grass fertilizer low in nitrogen with a hand spreader over the area beneath the tree in the fall. Water well, until the soil is moist. Remove fallen leaves quickly before they cause damage to the fragile grass below.

Step 3

Mow the grass under the tree to 3 inches. Do not mow shorter than this during the mowing season. Lowering the blade on the mower will scalp the grass, leaving it bare and damaged.

Step 4

Avoid traffic and herbicides in the turf area under the tree as both will cause harm to already fragile grasses. Keep children and pets away from the grass under the tree to allow for the best growth possible.

Step 5

Water the soil and grass well once weekly in dry months. Saturate the soil with a good soaking. In cooler months, the grass can be watered every 10 to 14 days. Over watering this fragile grass will result in drowning.

Things You'll Need

  • Lopping shears
  • Pruning saw
  • Fertilizer
  • Hand spreader
  • Leaf rake
  • Mower
  • Hose


  • University of Florida: Growing Turfgrass in the Shade
  • University of Missouri: Grasses in Shade
  • University of Minnisota: GROWING A LAWN IN SHADY PLACES
Keywords: shade grass, grass seed, grass tree