While trees are a beautiful and valuable part of any landscape, they do compete with our lawns for sunlight, moisture and nutrients. Lawns grow best when they get four to six hours of full sunlight per day. If heavy shade under trees is causing problems for parts of your lawn, it might make sense to consider some turf alternatives in those areas.
Ground covers or ornamental beds work well under many trees when foot traffic isn’t a concern. Plus, they look great and are easy to maintain. In cases where foot traffic is heavy, rock beds, stone pavers and even mulch beds can work instead.
Of course, there are still going to be areas on your property where turf is forced to grow in shady conditions, and there are steps that can be taken to help it along.
• Regular fertilization combined with proper mowing and watering will give your turf a stronger foundation for growing under trees.
• Selective pruning and thinning of tree limbs will allow better penetration of sunlight and air to the turf below.
• Minimizing foot traffic in shady areas of your lawn will make it easier for turf to tolerate decreased sunlight.
• Overseeding of shady areas is a great way to improve turf density.
• You may want to consider reseeding with other turf cultivars that are developed especially for shady conditions.