9 Best Grass Seed for Shade in 2020 (Reviews and Guide)

Growing grass in shady areas is the biggest challenge for the lawn owners. Shady areas in the lawn present the challenges to the growers to create the lush green grass in their lawns. 

This battle of patching these shady areas with thriving lush grass can only be achieved by improving the soil quality and choosing the grass varieties that can tolerate the shades. 

Lawn grasses struggle for their vigorous growth and life in shady areas. You can overcome this problem by understanding the real needs of grass and the shade’s far-reaching effects on the grass. 

The dream of vigorous growing grass under shady areas can be achieved by seeding the shade-tolerant varieties and improving the soil quality. In this article, you will get the best knowledge about the grass seeds that can grow under shades.

How Shade Affects Lawn Grasses

As all green plants lawn grasses also require the optimal amount of the air, water, nutrients, and light for growth and development. But the trees and shrubs growing in the lawns may disturb the grasses from getting these essentials. 

The shading effect by the leaves of trees and shrubs prevents the reaching of light to the grass growing below them. The competition occurs among the grass and trees for water and nutrients also. The trees compete and absorb more water and also take away the nutrients from the grass-root reach.

The soil under the shades remains saturated for more time which produces the drainage problems for the growth of grasses. 

Grasses start to stretch towards the light to reach the sunlight and results appear as the thin and weak grass growth. This weaker and thin grass loses its attraction and increases the chances of pests and disease attacks. 

The large tree effect goes beyond the shading effect in the form of their roots growing up to seven times than their shading area. Some large trees grow their shallow roots in the upper six inches of the surface soil which is the main reason for the grass under trees. 

BUYING GUIDE

Before purchasing any grass seed, there are some come considerations you need to consider to ensure that you get the better result. Firstly consider that whether you are going to patch a bare spot or you are aiming to plant a new lawn. 

You also need to consider the fact that if you are wanting a low maintenance grass seed or you have plenty of time to dedicate to your lawn. In addition, also consider the soil types that if the soil is sandy or clayey and the soil pH. 

All the products of grass seed contain some amount of the weeds seeds so be sure to read the ingredients carefully to know the exact mixture in the package. Furthermore, also read the seed mixtures carefully to consider only the package having less than 2% fillers and dirt. 

Lastly, make sure to consider the production date of grass seeds, the seeds should not be more than ten months past because the seeds past this duration are less effective to germinate.

Best grass seeds for dense shaded areas 

1. Pennington Smart Seed Sun and Shade Grass Seed, 7 lb

This product is the best choice for the person who is seeking the grass seeds for establishing a lawn that can last for the long term. Pennington smart seed sun and shade grass seed have their name in the production of the high-quality grade seeds.

The best thing about this product is its feature of water-saving as it will require 30 percent less water year by year. It requires four to eight hours of the daily sunshine to achieve lush green grass.  

This package by the Pennington offers the coverage of 2800 square feet by  consuming 30 % less water as compared to the standard grass. The reason for its popularity is its feature of quick establishing in both sun and shade, also offers the perfect drought resistance.

As a result, this product ends up a fine-bladed, thick, and dark green colored grass.

Pros
  • Grows quickly
  • Drought resistant
  • Thick fine-bladed grass
  • Consume 30% less water
  • Coverage of 2800 square feet area
Cons
  • Do not sprout if not watered properly

2. Pennington 100086851 Smart Seed Dense Shade, 3 lb

If you want to overcome the problem of no grass growing in shady areas of lawn then the solution is produced by the Pennington Smart Seeds for dense shaded areas. 

It is a superior perennial grass seed product having the feature to tolerate the dense shade, especially in the cool season areas. Even when your lawn receives a little two to four hours of the daily sunlight, this grass seed can establish a lush green lawn.

The best thing about this product is the fungal disease resistance which is a common feature among grasses because grasses are considered among that plant species that require more water which causes molding.

This variety product of the Pennington company is produced after the years by years of research to produce these seeds having the ability to withstand the drought, heat, and diseases. Sowing these seeds in your lawn will end up producing the fine-textured and rich green grass under the shades. 

Due to the drought resistance ability of these seeds they can last lush green for three weeks without water. 

Pros
  • Low maintenance lawn with fine-bladed grass
  • Save up to 30% water
  • Specially formulated for the densely shaded areas
  • Take 7-10 days to germinate
Cons
  • Coverage area is less

3. Scotts Turf Builder Grass Seed Sun and Shade Mix, 7 lb.

The people having knowledge about the best grass seeds will must now the value of the grass seeds by Scotta Turf Builder. This product is produced by Scotts with the name of Grass seed sun and shade mix, which is a perfect grass offering the fine balded texture and drought-resistant grass seeds. 

The best thing about this product is its 4 in1 feature, which provides you the guarantee of its waterSmart PLUS coating to absorb the twice amount of water to seeds than uncoated grass seeds.

The other features are disease protection and the feeding material, added in the package which provides the essential nutrients to the lawn for longer times. 

It is best for all areas and provides the coverage of 1750 square feet lawn area and perform well in northern areas even you are establishing a new lawn or overseeding. It starts the germination in just 5 -10 days and comes to full growth within 30 – 60 days.

Pros
  • 4 in 1 waterSmart PLUS coated seeds
  • Absorbs twice water than uncoated seeds
  • Germinates in 5 – 10 days
  • Protects the seeds from diseases
  • Medium to high drought resistant
Cons
  • Only good for cooler regions

4. Scotts Turf Builder Grass Seed Dense Shade Mix – 7 Lb. –  Covers up to 1,750 sq. ft.

As mentioned earlier about the Scotts Turf Builder, the company is well known due to its high-quality seeds. The difference between this product and the above one is their growing ability.

These grass seeds can grow in the dense shady area having the ability to grow at full potential in the areas which receive just 3 hours of the sunlight.

The best thing about this product is the self-repairing, shade tolerant and medium bladed grass growing features that allow the establishment of grass under the shades of the trees.

The 4 in 1 waterSmart PLUS coating feature of this product with dense shaded growing ability is the main reason for this product to become well known among lawn growing communities. 

The drought resistance feature helps the grass to remain lush green if you have to travel somewhere for some days. The best result of this grass seeds can be obtained by watering them twice a day for at least three weeks after spreading.

Pros
  • Coverage of 1750 sq. feet area
  • Shade tolerant, Self-repairing grass
  • Grows with little sunlight of 3 hours
Cons
  • Low germination

5. JRK Premium Dense Shade Grass Seed Mix – 5 lbs

If you are searching for the best heavy shade tolerant mix, the JRK Premium Dense Shade Mix is your product. It is the best product in the market that can thrive well in heavy to moderate shade in the moist conditions. 

The best thing about this product is its low fertilizer requirement for its need and best growth habit under the tree shades where the soil remains moist most of the time. 

It requires the fertilizer for just 4 times per year and grows just by using the irrigation supplied water to the area. 

It can be used to establish a new lawn as well as for the overseeding but the seed rate for both of these differs as for new lawns the seeds rate of 6 – 8 lbs per 1000 sq. ft. but for overseeding, the rate will be 5 – 6 lbs per 1000sq. Ft.

It is suggested to use under the pine trees that are trimmed up to mow under, overseeding problematic shaded areas, and all shaded areas with the heaviest canopy.

Pros
  • Heavy shade tolerant seed mix
  • Require no more than 4 fertilization
  • Can be used for part shade to sun areas
  • Thrive best in moist and moderate shade areas
Cons
  • May be expensive for someone but value for money

6. Jonathan Green 10610 Dense Shade Grass Seed Mixture, 25-Pound

This is the best product in this list having the maximum ability to grow successfully in the densely shaded areas. Jonathan Green is a quality grass seed mixture for the special lawn care needs.

The best thing about this product is the natural resistance to the insect attack. The endophytic varieties in this package help to deter insect damage. 

It grows well in densely shaded areas successfully where the other mixtures have failed.

It is the best quality product having the ability to tolerate acidic and infertile soils. It has the best result in the competition for essential needs with the trees in the tree’s shades. 

It has value for the money due to the better results as also mentioned by the previous buyers.

Pros
  • Natural insect resistant
  • Fast growth
  • Grows well in densely shaded areas
  • Value for the money
Cons
  • A little costly

7. Scotts EZ Seed Patch and Repair Sun and Shade – 20 lb

Scotts EZ Sun and Shade Seed offer the best growth in both sunny and shaded areas. This product by the Scotts is the premium product having the features of least chances of washing away and improved results even growing on the high traffic areas or hillsides.

It grows twice thick than standard grass and has the ability to absorb water six times more than its weight.

The best thing about this product is that it is the premium product of Scotts for patch and repair the lawn bare patches and has a coverage of 420 sq. ft.

To grow the grass by these seeds you will need to prepare the ground by raking hard soil and removing the dead grass. This work will help to germinate the tiny seedlings easily. 

After spreading the seeds, water the area thoroughly to make the soil saturated. One thing to care about is to keep the children and pets away from these newly sown areas until it grows up to 3 inches.

Pros
  • Grows twice thick than standard grass
  • Absorbs six times water to weight
  • Grows well on hillsides and high traffic areas
  • The best formula to prevent the seed from washing away
Cons
  • Less coverage area

8. Zenith Zoysia Grass Seed (2 lbs.) 100% Pure Seed

Zenith Zoysia Grass Seed is best for growing grass simply and easily. It establishes a high-quality lawn with a low maintenance option.

It offers a coverage of 2000 sq. ft. with lush green colored grass which is cold hardy and tolerant to the heat and drought stress. 

The best thing about this product is its 100% purity guaranteed by the company ensuring high-quality growth with zero mulch in the package and retention of the lawn. 

This grass seed allows you to use for the areas of high sunlight receiving areas as well as for the light shade areas. It ensures the coverage of 2000 sq. ft. within just 14 – 21 days.

Pros
  • Grows within 14 – 21 days
  • Heat and drought tolerant
  • Coverage of 2000 sq. ft.
  • 100% pure seed with zero mulch
  • A dense and green lawn
Cons
  • Looks like moss from a distance

9. Jonathan Green 10323 Black Beauty Ultra Mixture, 25-Pound

Jonathan Green Black Beauty Ultra Mixture is the perfect combination of the grass seeds with 100 % purity. 

The best thing about this product its feature of complete grass seed mixture which means that it does need extra to add any extra additives. This grass seed product comprises of 30% Montana Tall Fescue, 30% Dakota Tall Fescue, 20% Tombstone tall Fescue, 10% Frontier perennial ryegrass, and 10% Blue-Tastic Kentucky Bluegrass.  

This grass seed mixture by Jonathan Green offers coverage of 10000 sq. ft. of the area if used for reseeding and a bit less coverage area if you are planning for the new lawn establishment.

It takes the two weeks’ time to germinate properly if it is watered accordingly. 

Pros
  • 100% pure grass seed mixture
  • Covers 10,000 sq. ft
  • Take 2 weeks to germinate
  • A perfect combination of Montana tall fescue and Dakota tall fescue
Cons
  • Expensive product
how to grow grass in shade

How to grow grass in shaded areas

Most of the grasses only grow best in direct sunlight but some grass varieties also exist that have the tolerance to grow in the shades. The various grass mixes produced by Pennington and Scotts have the tolerance to grow in dense shades and variable sun areas of lawn. 

In your daily life if you ever noticed that the noontime is the best time for the plants to get the sunlight due to the strong sun rays at that time. The pattern of the sun and shades changes all day long by the movement of the sun. 

All you need is to take close notice of the sun and shade pattern so that you could understand what your grass is up against. Then you can choose the best grass type according to the challenge.

The first challenge is to choose among the cool and warm-season types. The region where you live mainly matters. Cool-season grasses grow well in the northern areas while the warm season varieties thrive in the southern and western areas. 

Adjustments To Help Shaded Grasses

The competition for light and shading effects creates a stressful environment for grasses. These are some considerations you need to follow to improve the grass growth, health, and vigor:

More light

The shade affects the grass growth badly so try to make possible the light reaching to the grass surface by trimming the trees and shrubs when possible. This act will increase the sunrays and air circulation which is a great benefit to the grass growth.

Increase mowing height

Always try to mow the grass such a way to not cut the grass more than two-thirds of the blade length. In this way by following best mowing practices, mowing higher than the normal will give the grass more leaf area to capture more light for food making for the next development.

Restore soil balance

The area under shade creates unbalanced soil pH and drainage problems in the soil. This poor drainage will promote the tenacious weeds and undesirable mosses growth in the lawn. Aerating the compacted soil and dethatching the soil are the two best strategies to alleviate the drainage problems.

Adjust fertilizer and irrigation schedules

The grass grows more vigorous in the sun than in shades. The fertilizer speeds up the growth, only the healthy grasses take the full benefit of these fertilizers. In the same way, the slow-growing grass needs less water. 

So after keeping in mind all these conditions you should monitor your lawn closely and adjust the fertilization and irrigation schedules.

Limit lawn traffic

Weak and stressed grass is more susceptible to the traffic across the lawn by humans, pets, and kids. By limiting foot traffic you can improve the lawn grass health and growth. These types of areas try to combat this problem by patching these bare areas by reseeding the shade-tolerant grass seed. Use any weed removal tool for better growth and aeration.

best grass seed in shade

FAQs

What is the best grass for shade?

Zoysia grass is considered to be best for the warm areas for shades while the bahiagrass and centipede grass are best near the experts for the moderate shades areas. The bermudagrass does only grow well in direct sunlight.

When should you seed your lawn with shade?

The best time for planting the cool-season grasses is late summer to early fall when the soil temperature is between the range of 50 to 65 degrees Fahrenheit. The second best time for planting in the early spring season, when temperatures warm to the same optimal extent.

How do I grow grass in heavy shade?

  1. Monitor the sunlight amount and timings. The rule of thumb considered worldwide for shade-tolerant grass verities is that they require at least 3 to 4 hours of direct sunlight or 4 to 6 hours of dappled sunlight for proper growth.
  2. Choose the best shade tolerant grass seed
  3. Plant the Grass Seed. …
  4. Watered them Well, and monitor their Growth

Should I water more in other shady areas?

Grass in the shady areas does not require water as quickly as their sunny counterparts. If the shade is caused by a building then you do not need to water more frequently. Water only when it looks necessary.

Do I fertilize lawn in shady areas the same as the rest of the lawn?

Grasses growing in the shady areas just needs one-half to two-thirds as much nitrogen as the sunny lawns. For lawns beneath the trees, just fertilize them lightly in early spring season before the tree leaves out, then do not fertilize again until early fall.

Conclusion

The best way to grow a healthy grassy lawn is by management by choosing the right spot for the lawn when you are going to establish a new lawn. The prune the trees and shrubs for the proper sunlight reach for initial growth.

Then choose the grass seeds wisely according to your habitat and requirement as their features are mentioned in our listing. The best thing to manage the lawn is to remove the anxious weeds timely by using proper tools so that the lawn remains well managed.

The best strategy before adding the fertilizer to the lawns is the proper aeration of the soil by using lawn aerators and water the grass properly. By following above mentioned strategy you can establish a lush green thick grassy lawn. 

We tried to add the best available grass seeds products for shades on our list. We hope that you find our article quite effective and it may help you to choose the right grass seed for your lawn.

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