Shade Grass Seed

Shaded areas need special grasses.

If you have a lot of trees in your yard, using shade grass seed can help eliminate those bare patches. Read on to learn about the different types of shade grass seed available on the market.

Before You Buy the Seed

It is important to check a few things about the area in which you plan to germinate the grass seed before you purchase the new seed.

Evaluate Your Soil

One of the first things you should do when you have a bare patch problem in your grass is to check your soil pH. This can easily be done with kits readily available at most gardening stores and nurseries. The kits are inexpensive and they'll help you make the right decisions when choosing grass for your property.

Evaluate Existing Conditions

Will you be planting grass in a dry area or a wet one? What is the weather like in your area? All of these things are important when selecting grass seed for your property. There are also some types of grass seed that are invasive, such as Zoysia. Take note of the type of grass already growing in your lawn before you plant new seeds.

Types of Shade Grass Seed

The types of grass that can be grown in your area largely depends on the hardiness zone. The following list of shade grass seed is categorized by climate.

Northern Shade Lawns

Fescue grass is good for northern climate lawns and those in the transitional areas between the northern and southern zones.

  • Boreal - creeping red fescue
  • Flyer - creeping red fescue
  • Discovery - hard fescue
  • Raymond - chewings fescue
  • Tiffany - chewings fescue

Transition Shade Lawns

Transition shade lawns are those located between the northern and southern hardiness zones. Creeping red and fine fescues work best in these areas. The following types of grass seed will grow well in this area.

Southern Shade Lawns

The southern shade lawns can be the most difficult to maintain or reseed because of the heat in these areas. Because these varieties are not cold tolerant, they cannot be planted in the transitional shade lawn areas. The following varieties can be planted with success in the southern hardiness zones.

  • Zoysia
  • Centipede
  • Carpetgrass

St. Augustine is another popular shade grass in southern climates, however it does not germinate easily. In order for this type of grass to be planted with any success, plugs or sod is used. Plugs and sod can be obtained by contacting local landscaping companies and nurseries.

Preparing the Area for Seeding

Once you've determined which seed will work best for your property, the area for planting must be prepared. The best time to plant grass seed is in the spring and fall, but it can be planted at any time when the ground isn't frozen. The following tips will help you prepare your lawn for new grass seed.

  • Clear the area of any debris
  • Loosen the top two to three inches of soil (small clumps of soil are okay)
  • Level the area so water doesn't pool
  • Do not use weed killer before or after you spread the seeds
  • Use a seed starter fertilizer if desired
  • Spread the seed evenly by hand or with a seeder
  • Lightly drag the seed with a leaf rake so no more than 1/4 of an inch of soil covers the seeds
  • Cover the grass bed lightly with straw or a seed accelerator
  • Water lightly and often to keep the seed bed moist but not soaked

Reseeding Patches of Lawn

When all you need to do is to reseed small patches of your lawn, the following technique can be used to prepare the area.

  • Mow the grass around the area as short as possible
  • Loosen the top 1/4 inch of soil
  • Remove any dead grass and debris
  • Level the area where the grass will be planted to avoid pools of water
  • Fertilize the area with a seed starter if desired
  • Spread the seed evenly by hand
  • Drag the seed with a leaf rake so no more than a 1/4 of an inch of soil covers the seeds
  • Cover the grass bed lightly with straw or seed accelerator
  • Water lightly and often to keep the seeds moist and aid germination
Shade Grass Seed