Bermuda grass in shade

barbeehd(z9/AZ)August 6, 2006

Does anyone know if I can plant another type of grass seed under the large tree in my front yard where the Bermuda won't grow? The tree has gotten so big that the Bermuda in its shade path has gotten thin and alot of brown empty places. I know Bermuda needs sun, and the rest of the lawn in full sun looks good. Is there any solution, other than cutting down the tree?

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adp_abq(7b NM)

you're better off planting a shade loving groundcover under the tree rather than trying to find another type of grass that is more shade tolerant. Some grass types are more shade 'tolerant' than others but they all love sun.

Don't cut the tree down.

    Bookmark   August 6, 2006 at 3:24PM
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The famous grass in the shade dilemma! Before you give up on the Bermuda there are a couple things you can try:

Try thinning the crown of the tree to let more light in. This may or may not work. The problem can be that the tree is stealing all the nutrients from the soil and the grass is fighting a losing battle.

You could try warm weather, shade "tolerant" St. Augustine grass or a fine fescue mixed with Kentucky bluegrass.

For any grass under your tree you will want to use a fertilizer with a high concentration of phosphorus to promote root growth.

Groundcover is a good alternative, as is ornamental grasses such as fescues, mondo or fiber optics grass. I am not sure which do best in shade.

Below is a link to an article on that I refer to for shade planting help. The third page of the article covers turf grass.

Here is a link that might be useful: About.Com Shade Article

    Bookmark   August 6, 2006 at 6:51PM
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If you fertilize the grass, the mesquite will go NUTS!

    Bookmark   August 6, 2006 at 9:59PM
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How about dichondra under the trees?


    Bookmark   August 8, 2006 at 10:17AM
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We've had tiff in the front and St. Augustine in the rear for just over 30 years. We enjoyed perfect coverage until the 12 trees on this tract-sized Phx. lot matured. Both grasses died or covered poorly in shaded areas. We thinned trees, watched soil conditions carefully, and resodded several times. We even tried Bob Grass in the shade. Nothing grew well. I could not do the right thing and give up the grass. Deep South hatchlings sometimes 'need' this setting.

Where appropriate, we altered the landscape with a flagstone courtyard, koi pond and several shade gardens. However, we still had patches of bare ground or grass too thin to be used for recreation. In desperation, we tried dichondra and several groundcovers with poor results.

We finally have fairly good coverage in the shade with fescue. To ensure a uniform color, we watch moisture, PH, minerals and are careful to use the right fertilizer for the three different grasses.

If you wish to save lots of time, effort, resources and disappointment, try thinning trees and/or one of the fescue type grasses. Oh, one more thought, we also made the mistake of overlapping the grasses 18 inches or so. The fescue was choking the preferred grasses. I had to remove the overlap fescue by hand.

    Bookmark   October 11, 2006 at 3:37AM
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