We all love some shade to hide from the ruthless summer sun, but how much shade can your lawn tolerate, and what can you do about it? When most new lawns go in following housing construction, quite often shade is overlooked as a factor as any trees and shrubs are often newly planted as well and won’t affect the lawn for some time. With shrinking block sizes and larger homes becoming more of the norm however, shade can be an issue for your lawn from neighbouring buildings.
The amount of shade will vary with the time of year and the aspect of the lawn area to these structures. In these circumstances it helps from the outset to choose the right lawn type to keep your lawn alive in heavy shade. Soft Leaf Buffalo grasses in Australia tend to do the best in the shade with most tolerating 50 to 70 percent shade. This is about three to four hours of direct sun each day, or speckled sunlight from trees for the majority of the day.
Keep in mind that many there are we’re being general here and circumstances will vary from place to place depending on variables of soil-type, wear, mowing height and more. Consider the effort stadiums go to these days to manage their turf with massive grow-light setups and closable roofs and you’ll get an idea of how the professionals try to manage shade. Managing the shade itself at home if you can is also a priority and may require routine pruning of trees, bushes and other foliage to allow as much sunlight as possible onto your lawn. Avoid over-watering, as shade prevents the quick evaporation of dew or surface water and continued dampness encourages diseases that inhabit growing grass.
It is best to water shaded areas only when absolutely necessary and then water deeply. When mowing, never cut more than one third of the length of the blade. It can be best in shady areas to remove clippings to allow as much light as possible to reach the soil. If your lawn refuses to grow in a high-shade-area regardless of what you do, unfortunately the last option could be to remove the lawn and replace it with a new pathway or garden bed, or – we hate to say it – artificial turf, which can be a perfect alternative for some ultra-shaded areas. Lawncare doesn’t need to be difficult and simple hints from Lawn Solutions Australia and their network of member turf growers and Lawn Solutions Centres Australia-wide can help with products to keep your lawn in top condition this summer.