Zoysia grass vs. St. Augustine for heavy shade

Asked February 24, 2013, 10:22 AM EST

I'm curious as to how well Zoysia grass (in sod form) will hold up in an area that is well shaded vs. St. Augustine sod. This is a small back yard, facing east, with a large fence and two large shade trees blocking early and mid morning sun. During late spring and summer months, as the sun moves south and the west, it will receive a few hours (approx 3) of direct sunlight. But as the day goes on the sun eventually becomes blocked by parts of the south fence line and then the single story house.

Our customer would like to have Zoysia for durability, drought tolerance and lower maintenance, but I am unsure if it will receive enough sunlight and don't want to throw (their) good money after bad.

We've also looked into Turffalo, but the customer doesn't want to invest the time in plugs.

Any comments or suggestions would be greatly appreciated. Thanks very much.

Collin County Texas

1 Response

Thank you for your question.

In my opinion, zoysia will do okay if it gets at least half day sun. But it is susceptible to a bunch of potential issues because it is not optimal. I do not think you will see those benefits of the zoysia if growing conditions are less than optimal. There may be a more shade tolerant zoysia now, but you will need to contact a turf specialist for that information.
I would suggest for you to contact your local Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service office (http://collin.agrilife.org) to see if they have some guidance or documentation on the types of grass recommended for that county. Also, I would direct you to the AgriLife Bookstore (http://AgriLifebookstore.org) to look and download publications L-5519 (Turf selection for TX) and B-6239 (Turfgrass establishment in TX).