Remember the old SunSmart campaigns that were on T.V. with the catchy jingle? “Slip, Slop, Slap. Put on a hat and between 11 and 3 sit under a tree”.
I remember sitting under the tree at school scratching around in the dirt, staring longingly at the lush green oval basking in sunshine.
I never thought about it back then but in hindsight, this was my first lesson into the shade tolerance of turf. There always seemed to be lush green grass out on the sunny schoolyard oval and hard dirt under the shade of that tree.
Well, it turns out there was a reason for this – For a turf to perform in the shade, you need to choose a very specific variety (something my obviously school failed to do!).
Here’s the lowdown of your shade-tolerant turf options….
Buffalo varieties are well known for their shade tolerance. The Matilda and the Shade Master Soft Leaf Buffalo with their medium texture, low mowing frequency and high disease tolerance can cope in up to 80% shade, meaning these high quality turf breeds can survive with only two hours of sunlight per day.
Other Buffalo breeds like your regular Soft Leaf Buffalo will cope with 60-70% shade, only needing three to four hours of sunlight to survive.
Couch and Kikuyu varieties will NOT cope at all in shade and need strictly 100% sunlight.
Planting a non-shade tolerant lawn in a shady location will quickly lead to your lawn dying and being infested with weeds. In fact, before long it could quite literally turn to dust!
Always match the turf variety to the conditions where it will be planted.
If you live in semi-tropical or coastal areas where your lawn may experience short winter days, frequent cloud cover or large tree canopies – a Buffalo grass breed is probably best.
To find the ideal lawn for your environment, check out our free 2-minute quoting tool.