How to Get Grass to Grow in the Shade


Growing grass in the shade is a difficult task for even the best gardeners. The most difficult spots to grow grass will be beneath trees, where the grass has to compete with the tree for water and nutrients. All grass prefers to be in direct sunlight. However, some grass varieties are more tolerant of shade than others, and employing a few other tricks can help to encourage these grasses to thrive in shaded areas. With diligent care, you can keep even the shadier areas of your lawn looking healthy and green.

Step 1

Select a shade-tolerant grass variety. While all types of grass prefer to have sunlight, some will put up with shade better than others. Fine fescues are generally the best choice.

Step 2

Spread the seed 50 percent thicker than it is planted on the rest of the lawn. This will encourage denser grass growth and thus a better-looking lawn. Since the grass here will not be as green as it is in sunny areas of the lawn, planting a thicker lawn will give the illusion of a healthier growth.

Step 3

Water the shaded area less than other areas of the lawn. A single, deep watering once a week should suffice. Water in the early morning hours to prevent a lingering damp that can cause disease.

Step 4

Mow the grass in shaded areas to height of 2 1/2 or 3 inches. This will give the grass a better chance of catching whatever sunlight does come its way.

Step 5

Use less fertilizer on grass grown in the shade. Stick to no more than 1 or 2 pounds of nitrogen per 1,000 square feet.

Things You'll Need

  • Shade-tolerant grass seed
  • Water
  • Lawn mower
  • Fertilizer


  • University of Missouri Extension: Grasses in Shade
  • University of Nebraska Lincoln Extension in Lancaster County: Growing Grass in the Shade
  • "The Everything Lawn Care Book"; Douglas Green; 2001
Keywords: lawn care, shade-tolerant grass, shady lawns

About this Author

Mandi Rogier is a freelance writer who enjoys writing about a wide range of topics. As a previous employee of Walt Disney World, she enjoys writing travel articles that make use of her extensive knowledge of Orlando theme parks.