1. Blog
  2. Beat the Shade

Beat the Shade


Lawns need sunlight to survive. Without this, your lawn can deteriorate, become less resilient and prone to disease. 

With less daylight hours and weaker sunshine during Winter, it’s important to remove as much shade as possible for your lawn. Shade can be caused by housing, trees, shrubs, fencing, furniture etc. 

What issues can shade cause? 

Plants need light for growth. So, when levels are low this will result in thinning due to the plant drawing energy from its own reserves to survive. 

New lawns take longer to establish in shady areas, because they don’t have enough light levels to drive the establishment process at the optimal time. 

Shady areas can get wetter more quickly as there is less evaporation and little to no thatch making water pool on the surface more. This is due to less grass in the area because the grass plant is weaker and can be more prone to diseases.

What can I do?

Although it can be impossible to remove all shade, it’s important to take small steps to reduce it.

  • Consider removing selected trees to improve light levels. Where this is not possible, prune overhanging trees to increase light levels. It is actually beneficial to have a turf-free zone of at least 1m (3ft) around the base of trees, to avoid grass competing with trees for moisture, and vice versa.
  • Never mow off more than one-quarter of the leaf at a time – always remove the grass clippings from the lawn to allow sunlight to reach the grass plants.
  • Water your lawn less frequently in shaded areas – water only when absolutely necessary but deeply. As shade prevents the quick evaporation of dew or surface water – continued dampness encourages diseases. 
  • With leaves falling, it is also important to remove these as often as possibly to allow light to get to the grass.
  • Regular feeding will encourage the grass to develop and mature, this will reduce the likelihood of damage to the lawns caused by shade. Using a specialist program for growth control can help, as the plant no longer reaches out for light as much and will live more happily in a shaded area. As a recovery measure seeding and top dressing early in the spring and/or mid-September should help to re-establish the lawn, this may need to be done over a few years until fully established.

Are there any ‘shade tolerant’ grasses? Can we use them?

Not really, however our own unique grass seed includes fescue grasses which are better at coping with shade, drought, and poor nutrient levels. All our GreenThumb Lawn Makeovers benefit from this blend of grasses – GreenThumb Diamond Green. However, bear in mind that even shade-tolerant grasses need some light.

Contact your local GreenThumb branch if your lawn is struggling: www.greenthumb.co.uk/branch


Share this post