Back yard 911

Asked September 16, 2017, 9:27 PM EDT

Greetings OSUES, My daughter just bought a starter home in Portland. It has a very small back yard with mostly dirt instead of grass. This is due (in part) to large trees on all sides from adjacent neighbor lots on both sides and rear. How can she grow grass in back yard? If no hope, what are your recommendations for a garden that will receive minimal sunlight? Distraught Dad in Jersey

Hunterdon County New Jersey

1 Response


It can be very difficult to grow turfgrass in shady locations. Rough bluegrass (Poa trivialis), variety Sabre) performs well in shaded areas that are moist; Fine fescues tolerate shade but prefer drier soils and do not tolerate constantly wet soils. Sometimes a mix of species in seed or sod does well (covers various conditions).

You may want to put a portion of the landscape into a groundcover such as Pachysandra, periwinkle, Ajuga, one of the grassy Carex species, Hosta, Lamiastrum, or Liriope. A groundcover would not need to be mowed, but would also not provide a good play space. Ajuga would be one you could run around on. Low maintenance though for groundcovers, I like the Carex blue ones!

Thank you for contacting Cooperative Extension,