12/05/2014

Looking after lawns in the shade

Nowadays most lawns have areas of grass that are in the shade. This is created by trees and bushes or homes and buildings. This isn’t good news for the typical type of grass found in UK, which is why you need to look after the grass found in the shade slightly differently to those in less shaded areas for the garden.

Problems caused by shade
 
Being in the shade creates a number of problems for grass. Not only does it block out sunlight that is required for grass to photosynthesise into food, but the shade also reduces the average temperature in those areas. Because grass requires a minimum of 6 degrees Celsius to grow, a lower ground temperature will reduce grass growth rate. 

Water is a vital component for healthy grass growth. When shade is created by overhanging trees and bushes, it not only prevents sunlight reaching the ground, but it will stop rainwater too.
Bushes and trees will also compete with the grass for the same water and nutrients found in the soil, limiting healthy growth further. 

Because of this grass that grows in shady areas is more susceptible to disease and is likely to produce very fine blades of grass. Because the grass is much finer, it is more likely to wilt in higher temperatures than grass that grows in more light rich areas of your garden. 

Lawn care strategies for shady lawns

Getting a healthy lawn, even if it is in the shade is still possible. It just requires a little more work and thought than other areas of your garden.

The first step you should take is to try and remove the source of the shade. This may not be possible if the shade is created by a house or a large tree, but where possible remove as much as you can. 

Prune and thin as many branches of any trees and bushes as possible that maybe creating areas of shade on your lawn. For taller trees, try to remove all branches that are less than 8 feet from the base of the tree. This will help additional sunlight and water reach the lawn. 

Next you should adapt the way you water your lawn. You should water the grass in the shady areas of the lawn infrequently and thoroughly. By watering the grass thoroughly and soaking the ground it will encourage trees and bushes to root deeply. Because the trees absorb water found deeper in the ground, it will leave the water near the surface of the lawn alone, allowing the shallower grass roots to get more water helping the grass to grow. 

If the above hasn’t helped then you can always buy shade resistant grass seed. Sowing new grass seed in the shaded areas of your garden will ensure that the correct type of grass is being grown in the correct areas of your garden. Shady grass seed is readily available in good retailers including B&Q. Follow the instructions on the pack for best results. You can also over seed areas of the lawn that look a little thin. 

Lastly when mowing your lawn, ensure you cut the grass in shady areas of your garden much longer. This can easily be done by adjusting the cutting height on your lawnmower. All Flymo electric lawnmowers allow the user to adjust the height of cut quickly and easily. Because grass in shady areas tends to be more fragile, it is more susceptible to damage when cutting. Always remove any grass clippings once you have mowed the lawn, as you don’t want to block out the little sunlight the grass is getting. Because the grass will be growing at a slower rate you need to cut the grass in shadier areas less frequently than the grass in other areas of your garden.

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