Grass can be a shady business

Shade trees in a park
Photo credit: Théo La Photo

My neighborhood in NE Portland is full of tall trees which make my yard very shady. My grass really suffers. What type of grass seed should I try to make a healthier lawn?

- Multnomah County, Oregon

You need a fine fescue mixture. By selecting a mixture of hard, chewing and creeping fescue cultivars you can maximize shade, drought and traffic tolerance.

While the fescues are relatively drought tolerant water is required at the time of seed, therefore, fall at the beginning of the rainy season is often the best time to apply seed.

It is important to avoid Kentucky bluegrass and perennial ryegrass, these grasses are sun loving and will only thin out in the shade. These grass also require a considerable amount of irrigation, unlike the fescues.

Alec Kowalewski
Assistant Professor, Turfgrass Specialist
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