St Augustine grass is a popular choice for homeowners in the southern United States due to its tolerance for heat and humidity. This grass type has a thick, lush texture and is resistant to many common pests and diseases. However, it is important to note that St Augustine grass has specific requirements for optimal growth, including the amount of sunlight it receives.
In this article, we will answer the question: Does St Augustine grass grow in shade? We will explore the ideal growing conditions for this grass type, and the impact of shade on its growth, and offer tips for ensuring your St Augustine grass thrives in areas with limited sunlight.
Does St Augustine Grass Grow in Shade?
St Augustine grass can tolerate some shade, but it is not considered a shade-tolerant grass. It requires at least 4-6 hours of direct sunlight per day to thrive. In areas with heavy shade, St. Augustine grass may thin out and become susceptible to pests and diseases.
If you have areas of your lawn that receive less than 4 hours of direct sunlight per day, you may want to consider planting a more shade-tolerant grass species, such as Zoysia grass or a fine fescue blend.
You can also try to improve the amount of sunlight your lawn receives by pruning back trees or shrubs that are blocking the sun, or by thinning out dense tree canopies to allow more light to reach the ground.
Ideal Growing Conditions for St Augustine Grass
St Augustine grass is a warm-season grass type that requires specific growing conditions to thrive. Here are the ideal growing conditions for St Augustine grass:
1. Soil: St Augustine grass prefers well-draining soil with a pH range of 5.0-8.5. It is important to avoid soil that is compacted or has a high clay content.
2. Water: St Augustine grass requires regular watering, especially during periods of drought. This grass type prefers to be watered deeply and infrequently, rather than shallowly and frequently.
3. Fertilizer: St Augustine grass requires regular fertilization to maintain its health and vibrancy. It is important to use a fertilizer specifically formulated for St Augustine grass and to follow the manufacturer’s instructions for application.
4. Sunlight: As previously mentioned, St Augustine grass requires at least 4-6 hours of direct sunlight per day to maintain its health and vibrancy.
5. Temperature: St Augustine grass thrives in warm temperatures between 80-95 degrees Fahrenheit.
The Impact of Shade on St Augustine Grass Growth
While St Augustine grass can grow in areas with limited sunlight, shade can hurt its growth. When St Augustine grass does not receive enough sunlight, it will become thin and spindly, making it more susceptible to pests and diseases.
In addition, shaded areas tend to have higher moisture levels, which can lead to fungal diseases.
Tips for Growing St Augustine Grass in Shade
If you have areas in your yard with limited sunlight but still want to plant St Augustine grass, there are a few tips you can follow to ensure optimal growth:
1. Prune Trees and Bushes: If possible, prune any nearby trees or bushes to allow more sunlight to reach the shaded area.
2. Use Shade Tolerant Cultivars: Some cultivars of St Augustine grass are more tolerant of shade than others. If you are planting St Augustine grass in a shaded area, look for cultivars that are labeled as shade-tolerant.
3. Shade Tolerant Ground Covers: Consider planting shade-tolerant groundcovers in areas with limited sunlight, such as ajuga or periwinkle. These groundcovers can help to fill in areas where St Augustine grass may not thrive.
4. Add Supplemental Lighting: If your shaded area receives less than 4 hours of direct sunlight per day, you may need to add supplemental lighting to ensure optimal growth. Consider using LED grow lights or other forms of artificial lighting to supplement the natural sunlight.
While St Augustine grass can grow in areas with limited sunlight, it requires at least 4-6 hours of direct sunlight per day to maintain its health and vibrancy. If you have areas in your yard with less than 4 hours of direct sunlight per day, St Augustine grass may not be the best choice for those areas. However, if you still want to plant St Augustine grass in those areas, there are tips you can follow to ensure optimal growth. By pruning nearby trees and bushes, using shade-tolerant cultivars, improving soil drainage, and adding supplemental lighting, you can help St Augustine grass thrive in areas with limited sunlight.
So, Does St Augustine Grass Grow in the Shade? The answer is yes but with certain conditions. By following the tips and guidelines in this article, you can enjoy a lush, green lawn even in the shadiest areas of your yard.
Can St Augustine grass grow in full shade?
No, St Augustine grass cannot grow in full shade. This grass type requires at least 4-6 hours of direct sunlight per day to maintain its health and vibrancy.
What is the most shade-tolerant cultivar of St Augustine grass?
Palmetto St Augustine grass is considered one of the most shade-tolerant cultivars of this grass type.
Can I plant St Augustine grass under trees?
Yes, you can plant St Augustine grass under trees. However, it is important to ensure the area receives at least 4 hours of direct sunlight per day and to prune any nearby branches to allow more sunlight to reach the area.
How often should I water St Augustine grass in shaded areas?
St Augustine grass in shaded areas still requires regular watering, but may not need to be watered as frequently as areas with direct sunlight. Water deeply and infrequently, rather than shallowly and frequently.
Will St Augustine grass die if it doesn’t receive enough sunlight?
St Augustine grass can survive in areas with limited sunlight, but it may become thin and spindly and more susceptible to pests and diseases. In addition, shaded areas tend to have higher moisture levels, which can lead to fungal diseases.
What type of St. Augustine grass grows best in shade?
If you’re looking for cultivars of St. Augustine grass that can flourish in shaded areas, consider Seville, Sapphire, Palmetto, or Bitter Blue. Not only do these cultivated varieties demonstrate impressive shade tolerance, but they are also the most effective variants among the eleven cultivars of St. Augustine grass. In my years of professional gardening, I’ve consistently seen these varieties perform exceptionally well in low light conditions, proving their resilience and adaptability.
Will St. Augustine grass grow under trees?
Certain grasses thrive under trees, and in my experience, St. Augustine grass, along with fine fescue, tall fescue, and some variants of Zoysia, are top performers. These warm season grasses have the unique capability to flourish beneath tree canopies where light is generally reduced. You might be surprised to witness the verdant lushness they can create even in challenging growing conditions.
Will St. Augustine grass grow well in shade?
Yes, St. Augustine grass exhibits an outstanding sweat and disease resistance nature which makes it ideal to grow in shades. For instance, take the example of the Innovation™ Zoysia variant, also a product of Sod Solutions which has proven to be a great performer in shaded areas. The blue-green hue of St. Augustine varieties offers a visually appealing contrast to many landscapes, and its disease resistance abilities mean it’s often thriving where other grasses struggle.
Which grass is better for shade Bermuda or St Augustine?
Comparing Bermuda grass and St. Augustine grass in shade conditions, hands down, St. Augustine grass comes out on top. Bermuda grass just can’t compete with St. Augustine grass or even Zoysia when it comes to shade tolerance. This advice comes from my years of experience maintaining lawns and witnessing grass types compete in shaded landscapes. For thriving grass in shady areas, stick with St. Augustine.