My grass is thriving in partial shade and dwindling in full sun

clayj0787November 4, 2012

My St Augustine (sodded by bldr on our new lot 1.5 years ago) is yellow, dried, and has Bermuda style grass growing in the areas of my yard that get 100% sunlight. I have tried all sorts of watering schedules but can't get it to grow green and soft.

I know it has the potential to because it DOES grow green, soft and full in the areas of my yard that get partial shade (along fences, near house under roof-eves, in the shade of neighbor's tall trees).

I usually hear opposite: that it is hard to grow grass in shade. Is my lawn confused?

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Its Totaly depend on what style of grass you are growing. All grasses prefer sun, although some tolerate shade better than others. To help encourage grass to grow better in shade, thin out large shrubs and trees to permit more sunlight to reach the grass.

It's difficult to establish a healthy lawn in soil ,loosen the soil, rototill the lawn, incorporate organic matter to improve the nutrient value and texture of the soil, and reseed.

With at least four hours of sun per day -- even if it's dappled sun -- you can grow grass in a shady spot. Plant the seed in well-prepared soil, using a drop spreader so that the seed is applied evenly over the surface of the soil.

Fertilizer is another important consideration for establishing a new lawn in the shade. New lawns require "starter" fertilizer with greater percentages of phosphorus to help establish strong roots.

    Bookmark   November 5, 2012 at 4:47AM
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Do not ever till your lawn.

    Bookmark   November 5, 2012 at 12:04PM
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HA! TW, you must not watch PBS because that garden dude on This Old House Hour tilled the lawn to 8" then added sand and compost and tilled it again. So there. Oh, then he put down sod. Then I think he put his finger in a light socket.

    Bookmark   November 5, 2012 at 12:43PM
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St Augustine is acting just as one would expect in Texas. Good with some shade and not so good in full sun.

    Bookmark   November 6, 2012 at 12:27PM
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dchall_san_antonio(8 San Antonio)

Review your many watering practices. Pick the one that looks most like this: Water deeply and infrequently. Deeply means a full inch (as measured by a tuna or cat food can). Infrequently means once a month this time of year gradually changing to once a week during the hottest part of the summer. You'll have to measure your own sprinkler to time how long it takes to get an inch. Mine takes 8 full hours. My neighbor's takes 20 minutes. Once you know that information, try watering a full inch and adjust your water frequency according to how long it takes your lawn to look withered. Don't water just because you haven't watered recently. Water when the grass looks dryish. With St Aug that is a fragile time. Water at the first sign that any of the lawn is getting dry.

Mow St Augustine at the mower's highest setting. If you can go 2 or 3 weeks in between mowing, do that. I have a St Aug yard that has not been mowed in 14 months and, if you like tall grass, it looks great. It seems to have stopped getting longer at about 30 inches tall. You don't need to do that but I can tell you that 2 inches is way too low, 3 inches is still too low, and 4 inches is lower than I like. The taller the better especially out in the full sun.

Do not ever till your lawn. If you ever get that urge, stick your finger in a light socket until the urge goes away. If you till it you will be mowing a progressively bumpier and bumpier lawn for years to come.

Jackalleness is new to this forum. He lives in Oz and apparently is not familiar with St Augustine. It does not grow from seed. Maybe they do things different down under.

    Bookmark   November 6, 2012 at 9:56PM
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dchall_san_antonio(8 San Antonio)

My reference to Oz was not meant to be a disparaging comment on Jackalleness. Oz is the Aussie's affectionate reference to the Land of Oz because they call themselves Aussie (pronounced like ozzie).

    Bookmark   November 6, 2012 at 10:02PM
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