DIY Network

Lawn Care

How to Grow Grass in the Shade

Find expert tips for grooming a gorgeous lawn under a canopy of trees.

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Julie A. Martens

Aerate

Shady lawn areas benefit from soil aeration, which creates holes in soil and exposes the root zone of grass. These holes allow for water, fertilizer and air to reach grass roots. When to aerate depends on what kind of grass you have. Tackle aeration so it’s done just before grass enters its peak growing phase. Aerate warm-season turf in late spring or early summer and cool-season grasses in early fall. Time fall aeration so it allows grass four weeks of active growth before your region’s average first frost. For the best aeration, use a core aerator (shown) that pulls actual plugs of soil from the lawn. In small shady areas, plunging a digging fork into soil accomplishes the task quickly and inexpensively. Aerate whenever the thatch layer is more than one-half-inch thick.

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