Turf grasses need a minimum of four hours of direct sun per day and do not grow well in shady areas. Grasses grown in the shade are more susceptible to disease as well as heat and cold stress. Horticulturists with Clemson University suggest that choosing shade-tolerant turf grass varieties is a good first step toward mitigating some of the problems encountered when trying to grow shade grass. These varieties include fine fescue in the cool-season grass category and St. Augustinegrass if you are looking for a warm-season grass.
Admit more sunlight into the shady area by cutting overhanging tree limbs.
Mow the shade grass 1 inch higher than recommended for the variety you are growing. The taller the grass, the more it will absorb sunlight.
Water the lawn deeper and less frequently than recommendations for your particular grass variety. Use a soaker hose and allow it to run for several hours, once each week, during dry periods. Check the moisture content of the soil with your finger. If it is moist to within 2 inches of the surface, don't water.
Fertilize the shade grass with half the amount of nitrogen recommended for your type of grass.
Rake up fallen leaves and grass clippings weekly to cut down the chances of disease.