Shady Trees Kills Turf

Asked December 3, 2019, 12:13 PM EST

At our property the trees have matured and the canopy has created so much shade the turf below is not receiving sunlight. What are some options we have to allow more sunlight to the turf area? Could we replant a specific type of tree, trim the tree regularly or put down a new type of grass?

Larimer County Colorado

1 Response


Replacing the trees doesn't seem like the best approach, simply because mature trees are highly desirable, especially if they are in good health.

Yes, you can try to trim them to allow for more sunlight. However, if you want to grow grass, even the most shade tolerant species need at least 4-6 hours of sunlight a day. And this would be the very minimum amount.

You can try to plant more shade tolerant turf species--the most shade tolerant are the fine fescues: Chewings, creeping red, sheep, or hard. (Sheep can be quite blue in color.)

The other thing to consider is: do you really need turf in this area? As landscapes mature, it's important to adjust your expectations about the landscape. It could be that replacing these former turf areas with mulched beds or shade gardens could be an option.

If there is the desire to have turf, then consider seeding the fine fescues. Not sure where you live in Larimer County, but if you can let me know, I'll point you to some sources to purchase.