Grass in shady areas

emmi331(7)February 26, 2011

My small back yard has gotten shadier and shadier as neighbors' trees along the sides have gotten larger and taller. It used to be a decent lawn, but now is getting bare with big mossy patches. The moss is relatively easy to remove, but is there a really good brand of grass seed for shady lawns? I'm willing to pay more for it. I'd like to seed in the spring, but will wait until fall (grinning and bearing the brown spots) if that is your advice.

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What kind of grass do you have in the rest of the lawn?

    Bookmark   February 26, 2011 at 3:13PM
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The fescues are good for shady spots. Do a search and see which does what and mix a couple, they react different in different environments. I for get the names but there are good ones out there. My question to you is why wait,if you are in a cold climate state seed some now and it will come up in spring and you can overseed then also.. You should have a nice lawn by fall but if not, overseed again too. What can you lose, a little bit of seed but if you do it right your lawn will be great if you fertilize and water. Lawndivot

    Bookmark   February 26, 2011 at 11:15PM
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Lawndivot--I think you're thinking of the fine fescues. A good fine fescue mix is Bonny Dunes. I've never used it, but people on various forums have reported good results using it.

However, depending on where in zone 7 the OP is, the rest of the lawn could be a warm season grass. If that's the case, fine fescues would be a poor choice.

One thing to note about fine fescues is that they require about half the water and fertilizer of other cool season grasses. Overwatering and/or overfertilizing can actually cause problems for fine fescues.

    Bookmark   February 27, 2011 at 12:37AM
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Good catch zone 7, you may be in a trasitional zone....that is, in an area that is in mid-area of the U.S. where turfs can be warm season or cool season type grasses.
The area comprises mid-America.
Before you decide which type you should use, speak to your neighbors, ask what they use, what they've had good results with and then speak to your local full service garden nurseryman who is up on the turf grasses that do well in your area. After all, he's in the business of selling to the public what sells.

As to your need for a shade lover, why not speak to your neighbors about possible relief from the trees giving so much shade. A simple pruning of some branches can offer some additional sun.
If you have trees that contribute to the shade, then pruning lower branches could invite more sun to the area around their base.
Trees naturally steal moisture from grass around them and where you can increase such moisture it can only help.

    Bookmark   February 27, 2011 at 2:45PM
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Thank you everyone! I appreciate your advice. I have no idea what kind of grass I have, as it's the same kind that was here when I moved in several years ago. I have never had a great lawn - weeds along with grass, but weeds don't bother me as long as things stay green. I do NOT need a perfect turf, but even weeds won't grow in the shady spots now! I have already cut back branches on my side of the fence, as it were, but it isn't working. The trees are just too overwhelming. When I plant new grass, I'll be more diligent about weeds, though.
Oh, and I am in Southwestern Virginia, in a broad mountain valley. Short cold winters, long lovely springs and autumns, and hot summers.

    Bookmark   February 27, 2011 at 7:17PM
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Can you at least tell us when it's green? Is it green during the summer and turn brown when you get the first frost? Or does it struggle more in the heat and do well when it cools off? Cool season grasses may stay green all winter, but they can also go dormant (especially if they aren't well fertilized in the fall). But a cool season grass will stay green longer than a warm season grass and will start to turn green earlier in the spring, also.

    Bookmark   February 27, 2011 at 11:04PM
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bpgreen: Just took a look out the windows at front and back lawns, and it's sad. Very sad. To be more specific, however, the grass right now is a mix: mostly yellow, but with small patches of brighter green grass, which may be where grass was sown over bald spots at some point. There's more grass in the front, where it's sunnier. The back is mostly moss, with a mix of grasses and weeds in the remaining areas. Perhaps the solution is simply to lay down astroturf? Or fake grass?! Maybe it's time to hire a professional. Thanks for your help!

    Bookmark   February 28, 2011 at 8:32AM
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