Grass Seed for Under Trees - Dry Shade

Grass Seed for Under Trees - Dry Shade

This is a dry place where trees or other plants out compete the grass for ground water and may also prevent showers reaching the grass. Dry shade is an area spending at least 50% of the grass growing season in shade.

Though it’s not so straight forward to grow grass in these areas it can be done with a little effort and is worthwhile doing as the results can be excellent and there are often few alternatives.

Examples of Grass in Dry Shade

Under or very close to trees and bushes. Border plants may cause dry shade effects at lawn edges. In winter months these areas will get wetter like the remaining lawn but the cooler temperature prevents much recovery so moss takes over.

Helping Grass Grow in Dry Shade

These all help maintain the grass cover:

  • Additional watering
  • Mow regularly but at a higher mower setting
  • Thin the covering canopy to allow showers and light through
  • Raise the canopy to 2m above the ground
  • Trim bushes back
  • If this occurs at lawn edges then best to cut the lawn edge back
  • Clearing leaves regularly in autumn

Dry Shade Lawn Seed

A grass seed blend with grass varieties bred for deep roots to enable the lawn to stay greener longer. This should also have some shade tolerance.

Compaction from roots can reduce grass vigor so if seeding for the first time dig over the area to loosen the soil and add compost.

Over seeding may still be required in spring and this should be done well before leaves come on trees if they are deciduous. Aerate and top dress with organic compost or use the decayed leaf mulch you collected in autumn. Use Staygreen Grass Seed

Can I use Shade Grass Seed in Full Sun?

Yes you can. They are all happy in the sun but:

  • Shadygreen, due to its great shade tolerance, doesn’t like drying out so only use if you can water the lawn in hot dry weather
  • Staygreen will love it and tolerates a good amount of shade
  • Classic will thin if the shade is too prolonge

When and How to Seed around Trees

For shade from trees seed a little earlier than normal in spring to get ahead of the leaves coming on the trees. Avoid autumn because of leaf fall.

If seeding a dry area under or around trees and bushes you may well find the area quite hard and compacted. This will make it difficult for seedlings to put roots down so you need to break this soil up. During a wet period when the soil is moist and less hard use a fork or spade to dig down and loosen the soil. Go as deep as you can down to 10-15cm if possible. Adding some green manure (well rotted not from animals) will help lighten the soil.

Once you've got this done level the area to a smooth finish and you'll then be ready to sow seed at the right time.