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Gardening: Growing shade-tolerant lawns

Ray Ridlen explains why homeowners with lots of trees should opt for shade-tolerant grass.
BY RAY RIDLEN Published: August 20, 2012

Broadcast seeding

Broadcast seeding can be a successful method for putting down the seed. A slit seeder is the preferred method and most rental facilities carry them. The most important aspect of seeding is achieving good seed/soil contact. Turf specialists usually recommend that homeowners sow eight to 10 pounds of seed per thousand square foot of lawn. The seed needs to be kept moist until it germinates, which usually takes about 10 days. Fertilizing isn't recommended until after the first mowing.

Even though tall fescue is shade tolerant, homeowners should remember that it still needs some sun to grow. Tall fescue turf grass needs a minimum of four hours of sunlight per day for optimum growth. For areas so hidden underneath tree branches that they get virtually no sun, ground cover plants such as English ivy, vinca or monkey grass are recommended.

Homeowners who have well-established Bermuda grass who would like to see a green lawn year-round might benefit by seeding rye grass into their Bermuda. Even though this means the lawn mower has to stay running year-round, it also means the lawn will be green and flourishing as well.