University of Maryland Extension

Shade - Lawns

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lawn grown in shade

Turf grasses are full sun plants that grow best with a minimum of 6 hours of direct sunlight. Grass growing near shade trees must also compete with tree roots and shade-tolerant weeds for water and nutrients.

Turf-type tall fescues and fine fescues, such as hard fescue, creeping red fescue, and sheep fescue are best suited for shady areas. With hard fescue being the best of the group. To improve growing conditions, take a soil sample from the shady area and apply fertilizer and lime according to the test results. Consider switching to a suitable groundcover in densely shaded areas where the fescues will not grow.

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