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How to Grow Grass in Shaded Areas

Yes, you can grow thick turf even in the shade.

Are you in the dark about growing grass in shady areas? You've tried everything, but that stubborn shady spot in the corner or by the tree still won't grow grass. It's a common problem. Even the best lawns can have shady spots that are thin or bare. The good news is that there are a few simple steps you can take to turn these shady spots into grass-friendly havens of thick turf.

Evaluate the Amount of Sunlight

Even shade-tolerant grasses need at least 3 to 4 hours of direct sun, or 4 to 6 hours of dappled sunlight, per day. If your problem area gets less than that, prune back some of the nearby trees to let in more light. If you're also having issues with dampness, go ahead and aerate. That will help get air and water flowing. Not sure how to DIY? Get the lowdown in our step-by-step guide to aerating your lawn.

Find a Grass Seed That Works Well in Shade

Depending on where you live, there are certain grass types that are designed to thrive in shade. If you live in the North, try a fescue blend, like Scotts® Turf Builder® Dense Shade Mix. If you live in the South, try a zoysia seed mix, like Scotts® Turf Builder® Zoysia Grass Seed & Mulch.

Plant the Grass Seed

Planting grass seed is a simple procedure. Prep the area first by raking the soil to loosen it up, spread your grass seed at the proper rate, and then lightly cover it with a quality soil, such as Scotts® Turf Builder® LawnSoil™. Follow that up by feeding with Scotts® Turf Builder® Starter® Food for New Grass, to help get your new grass seedlings off to a great start.

Water Well, and Watch It Grow

As you would with any grass-seeding project, keep your new shaded grass moist by watering once or twice a day until you see it grow tall enough to mow. Then you can cut back to a normal watering schedule. Remember: When you plant grass seed around trees, the trees are hungry and thirsty, and will compete with grass for available water and nutrients. Be sure to regularly feed the grass around trees, and be a bit more generous when watering.

Keep It High

Keep grass on the taller side—the extra length lets blades store more energy for growth—and avoid mowing when it's super hot outside. We're betting you can find something else to do.