Shade & drought tolerant grass

bobkatbf(7b/TX)May 2, 2007

Hubby wants to replace our St Augustine in the back yard.

We have 3 big live oaks.

The grass used to be lush. But now there are many bare spots.

He would like a shade & drought tolerant grass.

Thanks in advance for your help.

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denisew(z8 TX)

Well, when I saw this thread title I was going to suggest St. Augustine since it is somewhat shade tolerant. It is establishing well in my front yard and I have trees. Instead you could try making those into garden beds and putting in some groundcover like ivy, liriope, mondo grass (like liriope, but shorter), etc. If you plant ivy, just don't let it grow up into the trees.

    Bookmark   May 2, 2007 at 2:02PM
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The bare spots might be from grub worms. Maybe if you dig up some of the soil in that area you will be able to see them...if they are there.
I have zoysia and it does well in the shade of my live oaks. In fact it is longer and greener under the trees.

    Bookmark   May 2, 2007 at 2:07PM
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liz_h(7/8 DFW Texas)

Horseherb is a groundcover that is shade and drought tolerant. It takes some foot traffic, and you can mow it if desired. I don't think it gets very tall even if you don't mow.

    Bookmark   May 2, 2007 at 7:36PM
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maden_theshade(8 - Austin)

yeah, deep shade will not support St. Augustine. It does need a little light. The horseherb will do very well there. You could also do some other groundcovers for shade like Virginia Creeper.

    Bookmark   May 2, 2007 at 10:53PM
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prairiepaintbrush(RedOak, TX z7/8)

There is a new grass called Turffalo created by Texas Tech and they have a sun variety and a shade variety called Shadow Turf. I haven't heard any feedback on how it does, but it's supposed to do well.

    Bookmark   May 3, 2007 at 12:27PM
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Jermes(z& Tx)

Is it possible to raise the canopy of the trees so more light can come through? Just a thought!

    Bookmark   May 3, 2007 at 3:05PM
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liz_h(7/8 DFW Texas)

A good tree trimmer can thin the branches to give dappled shade and also raise the canopy. The guy that worked on the trees at our last house was great.

    Bookmark   May 3, 2007 at 3:08PM
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MrsBox77(z9C N Hou)

Ditto on the tree thinning and trimming off those lower branches to let in more light and air. Oaks should be thinned at least every other year...and now is the perfect time.

After they are trimmed, if you keep that area watered and fertilized, the SA will grow back in stronger than ever.

I am fixin to get a water oak thinned out for exactly the same reason. It has been about 2 years since it was done. I really should get it thinned out yearly. They will grow faster too if you keep them thinned out.

    Bookmark   May 5, 2007 at 1:06AM
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no grass is going to stand that much shade. it is a crime slightly less than topping a tree to thin it just to make grass grow. why have a tree and then keep it thinned so it is not natural looking? just mow whatever grows under the tree- weeds, whatever. how about english ivy? it should do great. or algerian or persian ivy. (don't mow those!)

    Bookmark   May 5, 2007 at 1:38AM
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Same problem here. Last year we tried sod, but it died. This year, we put down fescue seed. It worked really well so far.
We threw out by hand a thin layer of peat moss, then the seed, then a thin layer of mulch fines. It is so nice to see green all the way back to the fence.

    Bookmark   May 7, 2007 at 11:11AM
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jblaschke(8b TX)

Fescue will do well for another month or so, but it will die in the heat of summer--even in the shade. It should reseed and come back in the winter, though. Going with groundcover rather than grass is probably the only real option for year-round coverage.

    Bookmark   May 7, 2007 at 11:15AM
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prairiepaintbrush(RedOak, TX z7/8)

Horseherb might work

    Bookmark   May 7, 2007 at 11:11PM
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we put down crowne zoysia last year and it is great in shade and sun and as dry as it was late last summer i only had to water it once a wk and it is back this year going strong. very green and lush almost as pretty as st. aug. and so far none of the pro. that st. a has

    Bookmark   May 8, 2007 at 7:59AM
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I would recommend avoiding the horseherb as it's almost too hardy and propogates very quickly. As I've written in a previous post, you can subject it to the severest of treatment and it will still come back to haunt you in exponential numbers, propagating and invading every square inch of dirt in your yard and every surrounding neighbors' yard: you can mow it, (better yet) scalp it, starve it, deprive it of water, beat it, wack it to the ground, poison it in 100-degree heat, and even curse at it. There's no killing it! Horseherb firmly roots, which makes it time consuming to weed by hand, but it's the only way to get rid of any strays that end up in your flower beds AND BELEIVE ME, YOUR FLOWER BEDS WILL REQUIRE WEEKLY MAINTANANCE DURING THE GROWING SEASON.

What I did in your situation is replace my St. Augustine Floratam grass with St Augustine DelMar, which is very hardy and has superior shade tolerance of any of the St. Augustine and has excellent drought tolerance. See the link below.

Here is a link that might be useful: St. Augustine DelMar

    Bookmark   May 24, 2007 at 4:37AM
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Noticed someone mentioned Trufalo Shade. I was told today that it is sold in plugs and does not spread well.

    Bookmark   April 2, 2011 at 10:45PM
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Over the course of the seven years that I have lived in my present home, the grass on the left side of the house has gradually disappeared and I fear erosion. Now there is only dirt. My gardener has told me that he knows of nothing that can be down to reestablish grass because the trees block the sun making it impossible for grass of any kind to grow. I cannot accept that what he is telling me is true. Surely my yard is not the only yard in the state of Georgia that has shaded areas. HelP!

    Bookmark   April 28, 2011 at 7:46AM
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