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LIGHT

Shade

  • Most lawns will be thin in shaded areas.
  • Selective pruning of tree and shrub branches may let in enough extra light to promote grass growth.
  • Plant shade tolerant turf grass cultivars or other groundcovers in heavy shade.
  • Increase mowing height.
  • Decrease fertilizer application rate.

Growing Turf under Shade Conditions

In order to grow turf under shaded or partially shaded conditions, it is necessary to understand both the detrimental effects of shade as well as cultural practices, which can be used to minimize those effects.

Light Reduction

Although buildings and other structures may shade turf, trees are generally the most common source of shade reducing the amount of light available to the turf. Grasses, like all green plants, convert light energy into carbohydrates through a process known photosynthesis. These carbohydrates serve as the building blocks and energy source for plant growth and development.

In addition to reducing the total amount of light available, tree shade severely limits the amount of useful light reaching the turf. All wavelengths of light are not equally effective in photosynthesis. Green plants absorb primarily orange, red, and blue light while reflecting mainly green and yellow. Therefore, the majority of light reaching shaded turf is likely to be light, which has filtered through the tree canopy and is low in those wavelengths most valuable in photosynthesis and carbohydrate production.

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