want to plant grass

Asked April 5, 2017, 2:11 PM EDT

Hi My husband and I would like to plant grass, not sure if seed or sod would be best. We have a large swath of backyard that is currently covered with mulch and underneath is cloth to limit weed growth. The area is a mixture of shade and sun, mostly shade and for most of the day. If we remove the mulch and put down sod is it necessary for us to remove the cloth? I'm assuming if we choose to go with seed that we need to remove the cloth. Also, what are some recommendations for the type of grass? Thanks so much!

Howard County Maryland

1 Response

If you want to plant grass seed or sod, you will have to remove the mulch and the weed cloth/barrier. You will have to determine the site requirements. The best time to establish grass is in the late summer to early fall. Grass seeded in the spring has to make it through the summer stresses. You may have to overseed again in the fall.

If you have full sun to partial shade you can seed or sod turf type tall fescue. The site needs to be prepared for seed or sod. See the publication below for more information. Begin with a soil test. Results give pH, liming, and nutrient deficiencies. http://extension.umd.edu/hgic/soils/soil-testing

Grass needs at least 4 hours of sunlight to grow. Fine fescues are recommended for shady areas. They are comprised of creeping red fescue, hard fescue, chewings fescue, and sheep fescue. They do not perform well under heavy foot traffic, will not tolerate wet conditions or high rates of nitrogen fertilizer. You will not find sod for the shade. See our publication on turfgrass species grown in Md.
If you are not successful, you may want to lightly mulch the area, and plant groundcovers and/or shade perennials.