Second to “I want a grass that is low maintenance”, the next most popular request would likely be for a “grass that can grow in the shade”.
Trees and shade can create a beautiful natural atmosphere in the garden. However, it is difficult to grow grass under trees because of the quantity and quality of sunlight.
All turf varieties requires at least four to five hours of direct sun to live.
Shade reduces the plants ability to phosynthesise, which basically means that it is unable to feed itself properly. The turf leaves, leaf cuticles and stems are thinner in shade. The density of the shoots decrease as does the numbers of rhizomes and stolons. There is an increase in susceptibility to environmental stresses and disease.
Shady conditions together with other plant stresses can contribute to the difficulty of growing grass under trees, such as poor soil and tree roots competing for water and nutrients.
When considering whether to plant turf in a shady areas:
For shady areas it is best to:
Trees that are most problematic in North Queensland include Mango, Tamarind, Rain and Poinciana.
In areas where shade-tolerant grasses fail, consider shade-tolerant groundcovers or mulched beds instead of grass.
Building shade is an entirely different matter. If you are trying to grow lawn in the shade of the southern side of a building it will always struggle or die each Winter. For these areas: we would recommend considering permanent alternatives, such as paving or concrete paths.
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