5 Unique Types of Grass That Grows In Shade under Trees

Growing grass in shady areas is a big challenge for many homeowners. Grass requires at least six hours of direct sunlight. Also, the trees with exposed roots affect the existence of grass. Competition for moisture, nutrients, acidic soil are other aspects that make it hard to grow under trees.

However, we have grass that grows in shade under trees without any issues. This type of grass requires some light which might not necessarily be direct sunlight. They will grow well and offer you an evergreen lawn. So, you do not need to do away with your canopy landscape to have a yard. Instead, you can have both in the same space.

Grass That Grows In Shade under Trees

1. Fescues

Fescues grass is one of the perfect choices for shady areas. This type of grass is climate-tolerant making it a good idea for different growing zones.

It can perform well in cold, dry, drought, and shady regions. So, you can choose if you live in a climate zone with both warm and cold seasons.

This grass has deep roots that enable it to get nutrients from the soil and compete effectively with the trees. Also, it does not require dethatching due to its bunch-forming growth pattern.

This means low-maintenance costs. Essentially, they do not need much fertilizer and perform well even in cooler zones.

Fine fescues grass seed is available in five varieties: tall fescues, red creep fescues, sheep fescues, hard fescues, chewings fescues.

Each of these varieties can grow well under the tree shades. Like hard fescue grass and creeping red fescues, some of them form a central part of increasing fertility and shade tolerance in your lawn.     

2. Zoysia grass

Zoysia grass is another great option when you need a lawn in a shady area. This grass variety originates from Asia though it has been in American content since the late 19th century.

Zoysia has three species: Zoysia japonica, Zoysia Mattarella, and Zoysia tenuifolia. The main difference between these species is texture, color, and climate tolerance.

It is among the top warm-season grass varieties that can withstand many challenges. You can have this grass in an area with heavy foot traffic. The grass can tolerate drought, hot, and humid weather.

However, the shade tolerance depends on the type of Zoysia grass you plant. Zoysia grass has three common varieties: Palisades, Emerald, and Cavalier. Palisades Zoysia grass is the most shade-tolerant, although other varieties can also grow in moderate shade.

Despite the variety, Zoysia grass forms a dense turf. They also keep weed away and require low maintenance. However, they are among the slowest growing grasses. So, you need to wait for long before you get your desired turf in the backyard.

Also read: best grass seed for muddy lawn

3. Supina bluegrass (Poa supina)

Do you have a shady and moist backyard? Sometimes, it can be hard to establish a lawn in such spaces. Most grass requires direct sunlight to grow and develop a dense turf. However, such a condition should not deny you the opportunity to have a lawn.

Supina bluegrass is among the best grass varieties for dense shade and high moisture areas. Notably, this grass variety can grow even in areas with 90% shade. It has a light green color, unlike other dark green varieties.

For this reason, Supina will make your lawn attractive and outstanding. So, you can have a turf lawn under your canopy when you plant Supina bluegrass.

Also read: Lawn tractor gravel rakes reviews

4. St. Augustine grass

St. Augustine grass is another variety that performs well with limited exposure to sunlight. In particular, Palmetto, Sapphire, Seville, and Bitter Blue are good ideas for shady areas. These strains grow with only 3-4 direct sunlight per day.

The grass has a distinctive emerald color that makes it attractive. Also, it has low-maintenance requirements. So, you won’t spend much time and money to care for it.

Also read: Which grass seed can grow in poor soil?

grass that grows under trees

5. Perennial ryegrass

Ryegrass is the next choice to establish a turf lawn in shady areas. But, you must ensure it accesses 4-5 hours of direct sunlight daily.

Denying this grass sunlight totally will impact it negatively. It will lead to thinning of the stem due to the inability to make enough food. It can also suffer fungal diseases. The good news is that you can resolve the issue by planting it along with other shade-tolerant grass varieties. 

Also read: Can you change grass type by overseeding

FAQs on Grass That Grows In Shade under Trees

Why is it hard to grow grass under tree shades?

Generally, all plants require sunlight to make food through photosynthesis. This case is not different for grass. It requires adequate sunlight to remain healthy and strong. Trees form a canopy that hinders the penetration of the sun. So, any plant growing under them will not access adequate sunlight making them weak.

Also, the trees have deep roots that make them hard for grass to compete for nutrients and water. These factors make it hard for grass to do well under trees. However, some grass strains and varieties can grow with partial access to sunlight.

Also read: Outdoor Resin Deer statues

Are there grass varieties that can grow in areas with zero sunlight access?

Different grass varieties require varying conditions. Some will not grow without sunlight. However, Zoysia and some Fescues strains can grow in filtered sunlight and shade. So, if you have a canopy garden, you can have a turf lawn on it even though it has zero sunlight.

See also: How does Zorro zoysia compare to Zeon Zoysia

What are the alternatives to growing grass in the shade under trees?

Sometimes, the cost of grass varieties that performs well under trees can be high for many homeowners. But this does not mean you will have bare grounds on your tree canopy gardens.

Instead, you can opt for other ground covers such as artificial grass and gravel or wood chips.

In particular, these options can be a good idea when growing grass under oak trees and others that cannot coexist in the same space.

Every homeowner desires to have a shady canopy garden, but growing grass in it can be a challenge. Luckily, some grass grows in shade under trees.

These varieties are easy to maintain and thrive in hot and cold seasons. However, you need to have the right budget to purchase shade-tolerant grass seeds. 


  • Ricky

    Hi, I’m Ricky. I’ve been involved in lawn care and landscaping from when I was 15. To be honest, I didn’t like the idea of pushing mowers, collecting grass clippings, and maintaining flowerbeds at the time. But having seem the passion my parents had for gardening and outdoors and the effort they put in maintaining the health and beauty of our landscape, I couldn’t help but not only admire their hard work but also I became a part of it. As someone who loves to spend time with nature’s best, I find myself learning a lot more about gardening and outdoors on a daily basis. Not to mention I love to share the knowledge I’ve gathered over the years with my readers at We Mow Dallas. To be clear, I don’t have a Master’s degree in gardening or anything like that. Everything I’ve learned about gardening, landscaping, and lawn care spring from passion and engagement with my parents. And with a ton of free information out there, plus the ability to run tests and determine what works best for lawn care and landscaping, every day is an opportunity to learn and implement something new. My goal with We Mow Dallas is to teach you exactly how to maintain your lawn and landscape. And since I walk the talk in reality, you shouldn’t hesitate to join me in this wonderful world of landscaping and lawn care.

    bwambugi@gmail.com K Beatrice

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