Shade Sod Care and Maintenance

Asked August 10, 2019, 6:27 PM EDT

Hi There, I’m looking for a watering, fertilizer - overall care guide specific to shade sod. I’ve been to 3 retail outlets and they all say different things. Appreciate any info or direction you can provide. Thanks so much.

Clackamas County Oregon lawns and turf

4 Responses


  • Minimally, once per week during the active growing season
  • Maintain the turf at a 2 to 3” height
  • Return the grass clipping using mulching blades


  • 2 lbs N per 1,000 sq ft annually
  • Fertilizer containing high nitrogen and low phosphorus ratios (e.g. 24-2-12)
  • Fertilize 2 times per year, once in the spring and once in the fall - this is the big difference for shade turf, full sun would require twice as much fertilizer
  • Returning grass clipping will maximize the applied fertilizer


  • Start irrigation in mid-May and conclude in mid-September.
  • ·Make sure irrigation heads are operational in April, prior to drought stress
  • Apply ¼” of water 3 to 5 times per week (east of the Cascades will require daily irrigation)
  • Use a rain gauge to determine the run time required to apply ¼” of water


  • Inter-seed thin turfgrass areas in the spring and fall
  • Use fine fescue for shade areas

Thank you so much!

Dr. Kowalewski,

I just have a quick question about the fertilizing. You said to do 2lbs annually then say apply twice per year. Does that mean 1lb per 1000 in the Spring and then the same 1lb in the fall? Or does that mean 2lbs both times = 4lbs annually. Really appreciate the info! Thanks.


1 lbs N in the spring and 1 lb N in the fall totaling 2 lbs N annually.
If you had full sun increase this to four applications, but don't apply more than 1 lb N per application.