Growing Grass in shade

Asked September 6, 2019, 2:21 PM EDT

The grass in my yard was not fertilized for years and in many areas, particularly shady areas under trees the grass is very thin. I tried planting seed last fall and got grass to grow but it didn't grow satisfactorily (very thin growth). I tried again this spring, aware that there is more stress risk from heat through the summer. and again I am not satisfied (I used a dense shade seed mix). I understand that fall is the best time to do this. I want to sell my home next spring. Is there an instruction for doing this that I can get? How do I test the spoil for current nutrients? The lawn area is not very big and I would consider sod. Is there an instruction for sodding a lawn that I can get? I am in Columbia MD.

Howard County Maryland lawns and turf

1 Response

Hi - It is very difficult to grow grass under shade trees, as the plants compete for water, nutrients, and light. If you would like to try to grow grass in this situation, your best option would be to use fine fescue. https://extension.umd.edu/hgic/topics/growing-grass-shade

Now up until about mid-October is the best time to renovate a lawn. Here is information on how to submit a sample of your soil for testing. https://extension.umd.edu/hgic/topics/soil-testing

Fertilizer must be applied prior to November 15, as per the Maryland Fertilizer Law.
https://extension.umd.edu/hgic/topics/lawn-fertilizing

Please take time to read through our publication on lawn establishment and renovation. It has all the steps you will need to start from seed or sod. https://extension.umd.edu/sites/extension.umd.edu/files/_docs/programs/hgic/HGIC_Pubs/lawn_pubs/HG10...

For a shaded area, you might also consider some lawn alternatives/other types of groundcover plants. Here is more information on some options. https://extension.umd.edu/hgic/topics/lawn-alternatives
https://extension.umd.edu/hgic/flowers/groundcovers

Christa