How to Care for Turfgrass in the Shade
When turfgrass grows in circumstances with heavy shade, it requires care and a specific treatment.
- Low light reduces photosynthesis which in turn reduces carbohydrate production and rooting.
- In low light conditions, plants naturally grow upward to outcompete other plants and capture more light.
- When the low light is caused by permanent shading (not caused by competing plants) then this can also cause etiolation. Etiolation causes long, stretched-out growth producing weak plants.
- The causes of shading (trees/buildings) are also likely to reduce air movement therefore meaning the turf surface stays wet for longer, meaning potential increase in diseases.
- Turf growing in shade also has a thinner leaf cuticle which can make the plant more susceptible to disease attack.
How to treat a turf area in the shade
- Where possible, manage the environment to reduce the amount of shade. Encourage the turf to grow without excessive vertical growth and encourage better rooting.
- Reduce nitrogen inputs versus full-sun areas.
- Reduce irrigation compared to full-sun areas.
- Dry the surface with use of penetrant wetting agent.
- Aerate well to encourage good rooting and movement of surface water.
- Increase carbohydrate levels in the plant; select shade-tolerant grass cultivars.