Why grass needs sun?
Grass isn't green just for its good looks! The color is thanks to the chlorophyll contained in the grass. Grass produces food materials through photosynthesis, providing the plant the energy it needs to function. Photosynthesis requires energy from sunlight, carbon dioxide from the air and water from the soil. If any of these factors are missing from the equation it can have a negative impact on your lawn. For purposes of this article we will only cover the sunlight requirements of various grasses.
How do I know if my yard is full sun or partial sun?
Each type of grass will require varying levels of sunlight. This is definitely one of the more important requirements you should keep in mind when considering sodding or seeding your yard. It is a good idea to take note of the amount of sunlight your yard receives each day throughout all areas of the yard. The next time you are home on a clear, sunny day, look at your yard from time to time and try to find out how many hours of sun your yard is receiving. The hours of sunlight required for turfgrass ranges from 4 hours on the low end all the way to 8 hours or more. See our Sod Type Comparison for the sunlight requirements of our different types of sod.
For areas that receive 5 or more hours of sun, you would want to use a shade tolerant variety of sod. Durablend tall fescue, RTF tall fescue and TifGrand bermudagrass would be good options. If tall fescue is the choice for your lawn, you can keep the shaded areas thick by over-seeding with a shade mix seed. Generally these shade mixes contain different varieties of fescues that can survive and flourish in less sun exposure than most turfgrasses. They blend in nicely with tall fescue when over-seeded at the proper time of year.
Areas that receive 8 hours or more of full sun may use all of the varieties that we grow, tall fescue, Kentucky bluegrass, bermudagrass and zoysia. There is some wiggle room on those 8 hours or more of sunlight. Your grass isn't going to immediately die if it receives anything less than 8 hours. Just know that farther under 8 hours you go, the more likely your grass is to thin out and eventually die off.
How can I beat shade?
Shade is one of the tougher obstacles to overcome when trying to grow a great looking lawn. Choosing the correct variety of grass for your yard is a good place to start. Sometimes removing the shade is an option. Trees are often the source of shade issues when it comes to your yard. Removing trees isn't normally a preferred option but perhaps selectively thinning their canopy is. Allowing extra sunlight to filter through can help. You may also consider over-seeding with a shade mix of seed as talked about earlier in this post. Shade from man-made structures is also a challenge. If shade is cast by a house, consider landscaping the area by planting shade tolerant plants or other shade tolerant ground covers.
If you have any questions, check out PlantSod.com or feel free to give us a call. We would be happy to assist in choosing the variety that works best for you and your yard!