Shady areas presents a number of problems for gardeners who want to grow grass. Shaded lawns more easily contract a fungal disease. Most grass types need to be grown in full sunlight. In fact, an area that receives less than four hours of sun will not support grass growth, according to Clemson University. Certain grass varieties do work for shady areas, however.
Fescue is a cool season grass type that is often grown in the northern regions of the United States. This grass type can stay green throughout the year if enough water is supplemented during drought and warm weather. There are four main types of fine fescue that you can grow: creeping red fescue, sheep fescue, hard fescue and chewing fescue. It is important to plant fine fescue in the early spring before the heat of summer to keep the seeds from drying out.
Zoysia grass is tolerant of moderate to light shade, according to Clemson University. Specific types of this warm season grass tolerate shade better than other types such as Diamond, Cavalier, Belaire, Meyer, Emerald and El Toro. Zoysia is also drought tolerant, which is important when growing grass in the shade. Shady areas often suffer from lack of soil moisture, because many shade tolerant plants have shallow root systems. You can plant zoysia seeds in the early spring.
St. Augustine consists of types that are both shade intolerant and tolerant, so it is important to seed your lawn with the right type. Shade tolerant St. Augustine types include Palmetto, Delmar, Bitterblue, Jade, Seville and Raleigh. It has taken grass growers years to produce a St. Augustine seed that will easily germinate in the yard, and seeds for St. Augustine grass have just recently become available. If you cannot find a type that you can sow in shady areas, you may have to install St. Augustine sod.
Centipede grass is a warm season turf that can be planted anywhere St. Augustine grass can be planted, according to Texas A&M University. Gardeners may experience problems with this grass spreading. It is important to remove all weeds in the lawn before sowing centipede grass. Weed competition makes centipede grass spread at a slower rate. Keep your shade-planted centipede grass 1/2 to 1 inch higher than you would when it is planted in full sun to help the grass spread and retain soil moisture.