What’s the Best Shade Grass for Houston?
We often get questions about the best shade grass for Houston. None of the grasses suitable for Houston area lawns will thrive in complete shade, so the question is really about shade tolerant grasses. Houston Grass South Owner Michael Romine answers the question in this video.
Summary of the Shade Grass for Houston Video
Probably the number two most frequently asked question is about shade tolerance or shade grass. Some people call and they don’t even know that they’re asking about shade tolerance, but we get around to talking about why their grass is dead. They think it’s because the soil’s too compact or the soil washed away, but we know to ask about shade.
As Oak Trees Mature They Kill Your Grass with Shade
Around here live oaks are a predominant tree, and they create a giant canopy. A lot of people buy new houses and they plant three or four of these oak trees in the front yard. For several years they’re just sticks, but about year 12 or 15 they start covering larger and larger areas with shade. Then you have houses that have 30, 40, 50 year old oak trees and shade just really becomes an issue in this part of the world, So the shade issue comes up a lot with us.
What’s the Best Shade Grass for Houston
If somebody were to ask me right now what’s the most shade-tolerant grass I can buy to put out there, we’ve always said Palmetto St. Augustine, which I still believe is probably has the highest shade tolerance. There’s talk about a new grass coming out that’s starting to be grown by several producers, including our family farm which supplies us.
We’re probably 6 to 12 months out from seeing some results from that before we would start selling it. And it could very well take the place of a Palmetto St. Augustine.
I would have to say the Zoysias are also moderately shade-tolerant. There’s a chart on A&M’s website, their Horticulture Department, and they classify Zoysias as moderate to high shade-tolerant grasses, and they classify St Augustine’s as a high shade-tolerant grass.
So if you’re trying to rank the best shade grass for Houston, I would have to say that Palmetto St. Augustine grass, the Palisades Zoysia grass, the Emerald Zoysia grass, have fairly decent shade-tolerance.
What Varieties Are Not Shade Grasses
All of the Bermuda grasses — the common, Tifway, and TexTurf — have absolutely zero shade tolerance. You have to put them out in the wide open, in a wide open area. That’s the reason they do great on sports fields and the middle of golf course fairways, because they recuperate fast. They’ve got a lot of great attributes, but they can not tolerate any shade at all and you should be very aware of that.
We get a of lot of requests, a lot of these subdivisions in the Houston area are starting to put Bermuda grass in these new homes and we see that is going to be a problem someday. As the trees get a little bit older and if you plant that grass up close in the shade of these houses, it can create a problem for the Bermuda grass.
So the shade impact on your grass is something that’s out of our control. Even the best shade grasses like the Palmetto and the Zoysias, need four or five hours of direct sunlight per day or they won’t survive. We say most grasses need seven or eight hours of direct sunlight.
All Shade Grass Needs Four to Five Hours of Sun a Day
The Palmetto and some of the Zoysias can probably exist on four or five hours, but by that we don’t mean just dappled sunlight, or we call it filtered sunlight here and there. You have to get either the morning or evening or both types of sun underneath there to somehow come up with 4 hours of direct sunlight, or there’s just no way that it’s going to survive. You won’t be happy with the end product. It’s gonna be stringy, thin, probably disease-prone.
That’s another thing to note about growing grass in the shade — it stays a lot more damp. A lot of the times, it is more prone to disease. Brown patch, gray leaf spot, and things of that nature, so those are things to be aware of too. Sorry there’s no silver bullet for growing grass underneath the large oak trees in the Houston area.
It’s a trial and error thing a lot, and we try to be as upfront with folks as we can about what the sunlight requirements are, but sometimes it’s just not possible to get a good stand of grass underneath the big oak trees.
Call Houston Grass South for Houston’s Best Shade Grass
Our shade-tolerant grass and our other grass varieties come from our family farm in Bay City. We know how that grass is grown, and we know the farm’s dedication to quality. Michael Romine grew up working on the farm and his brother manages the farm today. So we’re proud of the high quality of every pallet of grass we sell. Call us at 281-431-7441 or send us an email through our contact form.