Shady Area Recommendations

Asked January 20, 2014, 12:21 PM EST

I recently moved into a home where a significant amount of the yard is shaded by very mature trees, and my neighborhood association has some restrictions about cutting down trees. Can you recommend specific varieties of grass that I can use to fill in the large bare areas that don't get a lot of sun?

Chesterfield County Virginia

1 Response

The fine fescues are our most shade-tolerant turfgrasses. The fine fescues are creeping red fescue, chewings fescue, and hard fescue. They are often included in shade seed mixes with tall fescue, which isn't as shade tolerant but has much better wear resistance. Fine fescues don't hold up well against heavy traffic, so they aren't the best choice if you have children or dogs.

Even with fine fescues, if parts of your yard get too much shade (less than 6 hours of sunlight per day), maintaining turf coverage will be difficult. There are, however, alternative ground covers that handle shade better and typically require less maintenance. The chief drawback to these alternative ground covers is that they do not handle foot traffic. For more information, see Virginia Cooperative Extension's publications Ground Covers and Selecting Landscape Plants: Groundcovers