Grass in the Shade: Understanding Expectations & Solutions in Memphis, TN and N. Mississippi

Whether you have one tree or several on your property, you most likely really appreciate them for the shade that they provide on a hot day. It might even be the shade that makes your property more bearable when the sun’s rays get intense—after all, southern weather can get quite steamy.

We certainly understand the value of shade in our climate, however, we also know that shade and grass just don’t mix. Grass in a shady area is always going to be sparse and struggle to grow. If this is a problem that you’re dealing with, you might be looking for answers. In fact, you might even be feeling frustrated. Is it even possible to grow grass in shade? 

This is a question that we often get and we want to be able to set homeowners up with realistic expectations. The last thing that we want is for you to feel as though you have to be stuck with a lawn that you don’t love. There are answers out there.

What Does Grass Need to Grow?

Although it’s true that there are shade grass seed mixes, we find that a lot of homeowners have unrealistic expectations regarding the performance of these grass types. In fact, it is commonly assumed that shade grass seed doesn’t require any (or much) sun—but all grass needs sunlight. Even shade mixes require about 5 to 6 hours of sunlight each day to perform well. 

Lawn care technician spraying lawn

Grass in a shade area must also be treated more cautiously as it can get overstressed more easily (particularly when over-fertilized or over-treated with herbicides). It’s important that these areas are only spot treated with product as needed.

Growing Grass in Memphis, TN and N. Mississippi

One way that you can help the grass to grow on your property is to encourage more sunlight. This can be achieved with tree pruning services. 

Tree pruning can help thin out your tree (or trees) enough to allow some sunlight to filter onto your lawn. Because of our affiliation with our sister company, Michael Hatcher & Associates, we can arrange these services for you.

lawn care technician discussing grass in shady area with customer

Of course, you’ll need to have realistic expectations as even pruning is not necessarily going to allow for a tremendous amount of sunlight and your lawn may still be thin in those shaded areas. If you choose to work with us, we’ll give you a good idea of what you can expect from the results or whether it might be worth pursuing other options.

Additional Options for Your Shaded Property

Instead of fighting the battle of attempting to grow grass in shade, you could consider some lawn alternatives. 

For example, creating large mulch rings around the tree (or trees) can fill in those spots that would otherwise be thin or bare. This can also look quite attractive and still give you the option of enjoying your shaded spot. You might even consider putting a bench or seat in this area.

lawn technician near tree with mulch ring

You could also have plant beds installed in the shaded areas and grow shade-loving perennials or shrubs for some greenery that will perform better than grass. 

Of course, there’s also always the option of removing your trees, but we find that most homeowners really do appreciate that shade and would prefer to keep their trees. Trees are also typically a meaningful and aesthetic piece of the property that many homeowners would prefer not to give up if they don’t have to.

Choosing Master Lawn for all of your Property Needs

While most lawn care companies would not be able to assist with any of the options described above, because of our affiliation with our sister company, we can offer the full gamut of landscaping services that you might need. That includes these suggested lawn alternatives, depending upon which route you choose to take. 

Master Lawn lawn care technician and customer in northern Mississippi

The nice thing is that you have options and you can choose what works best for you. 

While some lawn care companies might keep trying to treat those bare or thin areas, even though it is making no progress, you can count on us to be honest and realistic in terms of what you can expect. In some cases, that may mean telling you the grass is never going to fill in the way you want. If it bothers you, you’ll likely want to consider an alternative.

After all, it’s your property and you deserve to have a lawn that you can love without having to make compromises. By choosing the right company to meet your needs, you can have the trees (and their wonderful shade) as well as a property that you’re still proud of and enjoy.

Ready to stop worrying about your lawn failing to meet your expectations at your Memphis, TN or Northern Mississippi home? Talk to a lawn care expert, choose from 3 program options, and become the master of your lawn.

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Joey Steele, Lawn & Plant Health Care Manager

Since 2004, Joey has been using his B.S. in Landscape Construction and his turf and ornamental certifications to transform properties in our area. He loves seeing the fruit of his team's hard work and enjoys the many relationships he's formed since joining our team in 2008. He's an Olive Branch, MS native and enjoys spending time with his wife and three young boys, fishing and going to football games.

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