At this time of year when the sun is finally starting to show itself (hopefully the sign of a long and gorgeous summer, here’s hoping eh?) it can be disheartening to see that your lawn isn’t getting much, or indeed any sunlight and therefore isn’t making it’s lushious recovery from last year at anything like the rate of your neighbour’s perfect south facing garden.
Fear not if you’re in this situation, help is at hand. Special grass seed is available that copes better in shady conditions compared to normal grasses, specifically these seed mixes are likely to include Fescue type grasses which are more tolerant to having less sunlight on them, however keep in mind that no grass can sucessfully thrive without at least some sunlight.
If trees are the problem then it’s worth considering what you can do to minimise the shade they are casting on the lawn, is it possible to remove them altogether? If this is too extreme a solution then it may be possible to prune and ‘thin’ the canopy, so that at least some light can get through. If the turf goes right up to the base of the trees then you might also want to consider removing a section approximately 1 metre in diameter from the base of the tree, as this will stop the tree and grass competing over moisture and nutrients. Grab yourself a decent set of long handled loppers to make the job of tackling the very highest branches as simple as possible.
Mowing a Shady Lawn
Clearly a shady lawn needs all the help it can get to flourish so you should avoid mowing with the same frequency that sun rich grass gets, and also avoid taking too much off in any one go. Set the mower to a high cutting height, ideally above 8 cm, and don’t leave any clippings behind in the hope that you’ll be helping the lawn grow with it’s own compost, it won’t work in this case.
Watering and Feeding a Shady Lawn
Water a shady lawn as you would any other, although be more generous near to trees to ensure that the tree is well watered and doesn’t make life for the grass any more difficult than it already is.
Shady grass should be fed in autumn or early spring using a feriliser with high potassium content.