As a seasoned lawn care pro, I’ve come across tons of questions from folks trying to make their yards look top-notch and the envy of their neighbors.
One common dilemma we often hear is, “Will Zoysia grow in the shade?”
Well, folks, you’re in luck!
I’m gonna dive right into this topic, breakin’ down the ins and outs of Zoysia grass and its ability to thrive (or not) in those shady spots of your yard.
So, strap in and get ready for some straight-up lawn wisdom, coming your way!
Table of Contents
Can Zoysia Grass Grow in Shade?
As a warm-season grass, Zoysia grass is known for its durability and low maintenance requirements (a big plus for most home owners).
It is a popular choice for lawns, golf courses, and sports fields.
But does it grow in the shade? Yes, it can grown in the shade!
I’ll breakdown the factors affecting Zoysia grass growth in shade, how much shade it can tolerate, and tips for growing it successfully in less sunny conditions.
Factors that Affect Zoysia Grass Growth in Shade
While Zoysia grass can tolerate some shade, it is not considered a shade-tolerant grass.
The amount of shade that Zoysia grass can tolerate depends on several factors, including the type of Zoysia grass, the amount of sunlight the grass receives, and the quality of the soil.
Some types of Zoysia grass are more shade tolerant than others.
For example, Zoysia matrella is more shade tolerant than Zoysia japonica.
However, even the most shade-tolerant Zoysia cultivars require some direct sunlight to grow and thrive.
How Much Sunlight Does Zoysia Grass Need?
Zoysia grass requires a minimum of 4-6 hours of direct sunlight each day in order to grow and thrive.
In shaded areas, Zoysia grass may become thin and weak, making it more susceptible to disease and pests.
However, with proper care and maintenance, Zoysia grass can still grow in light shade.
Tips for Growing Zoysia Grass in Shade
If you want to grow Zoysia grass in shade, there are several things you can do to increase the chances of success:
- Choose a shade-tolerant Zoysia cultivar: Opt for varieties such as Zoysia matrella, Palisades, or Zeon Zoysia which are more shade tolerant than others.
- Ensure the grass receives at least 4-6 hours of direct sunlight per day: Prune dense tree branches to allow more sunlight to reach the grass and promote healthy growth.
- Fertilize the grass regularly: In early summer, apply nitrogen fertilizer at a rate of ½ to 1 pound per 1,000 square feet to provide essential nutrients.
- Water the grass deeply and infrequently: Watering less frequently but deeply encourages deep root growth, which in turn helps the grass cope with less sunlight.
- Control pests and diseases: Monitor your lawn for any signs of infestation or disease and address issues promptly to maintain a healthy lawn.
- Minimize traffic on the grass: Less foot traffic will help prevent compaction and stress on the grass, making it more resilient in shaded conditions.
- Mow the grass high to promote healthy growth: Keep the grass at a longer length, as it will perform better in shade when left longer. This allows for more leaf surface area, which in turn helps the grass capture more sunlight for photosynthesis.
By following these tips, you can increase the chances of growing Zoysia grass in shade.
But it’s important to remember that Zoysia grass is not a shade-tolerant grass, and it may not thrive in areas with heavy shade.
The Most Shade-Tolerant Zoysia Grass Varieties
While all zoysia grass performs best in full sun, some types tolerate light to moderate shade better than others.
One shade-tolerant type known as Palisades, a type of zoysia japonica, performs well in shade and also offers good winter hardiness.
Another shade-tolerant variety is Zeon Zoysia, which is an improved zoysia grass variety that offers a better shade tolerance.
It’s also more resistant to pests and diseases compared to other varieties.
It’s medium green color is suitable for high and low temperatures in transitional zones.
Other zoysia varieties that have some shade tolerance include:
- Zorro Zoysia
- Zenith Zoysia
- El Toro Zoysia
- Meyer Zoysia
- Excellent cold and drought tolerance
- Mature plugs are already producing runners
- Used in full sun and partial shade. Zoysia plugs ordered in fall/winter will arrive dormant and will be brown in color, but will green up soon after warm weather returns
- Needs Daily watering for first 2 weeks - then 1-2 times per week only!
It’s important to note that while these varieties have some shade tolerance, they still require some amount of sunlight to thrive.
Zoysia grass needs partial shade, meaning it requires at least 4-8 hours of filtered sunlight per day.
If the area is too shady, zoysia grass may struggle to grow and become thin and patchy.
When considering which zoysia variety to plant in a shady area, it’s important to consult with a local lawn care expert or nursery to determine which variety will perform best in the specific conditions of the area.
How To Grow Zoysia Grass In Shade
While Zoysia grass is known for its ability to thrive in full sun, it is possible to grow it in shade.
However, it’s important to note that Zoysia grass varieties are tolerant to low light conditions, like Zeon, Innovation, Geo, Meyer, and El Toro, need a minimum of 4 hours of direct daily sunlight.
The first step to growing Zoysia grass in shade is to prune the trees to increase light infiltration.
This will help ensure that the grass receives the minimum amount of sunlight it needs to grow.
Additionally, it’s important to keep the grass at a longer length, as it will perform better in shade when left longer.
Another important factor to consider is fertilization.
In early summer, you gotta apply nitrogen fertilizer at a rate of ½ to 1 pound per 1,000 square feet to your grass.
This helps ensure that your Zoysia grass is getting the nutrients it needs to grow in shade.
You should also consider using a mix of Zoysia and Tall Fescue to ensure year-round color.
This is because Zoysia thrives in the summer heat before pulling back as Tall Fescue takes over and thrives in the spring and fall.