Lawn Care
everything for lawn care all in one place
providing dependable & original lawn tips since 2008
The Lawn Guide
Palmetto Buffalo

'New Content'

By Kate Wall

As a general rule of thumb, if you want to grow a great lawn, it needs as much sun as possible. Development of a wide range of turf varieties has increased the options for growing turf in less than full sun, however as the amount of shade increases, greater care needs to be taken with choosing a turf variety which will succeed.

When wishing to grow lawns in shade, you first need to understand the quality of your shade. Grass will perform better with sufficient sunlight. Even very shade tolerant grasses need sufficient light to grow well. Begin by recognising how many hours of direct sunlight an area receives per day – remembering that this will vary with times of the year.

Shade can vary from light to very deep. Dappled shade from a tree with a high or thin canopy can still provide a lot of light, even if it is not receiving direct sunlight. Shade cast by a building is often very solid and dark, and can be particularly difficult for providing enough light for plant growth without sufficient direct sunlight.

The buffalo grasses are the most shade tolerant of all lawn varieties, and will grow in as much as 70% shade. If your shade is deeper than this, you will do best to avoid grasses and use a lawn substitute, such as dichondra, native violets or Liriopes.

There are numerous buffalo turf varieties available and the most common may not be the best suited to your situation. In addition to the amount of shade you have, consider factors such as drought tolerance which will impact on how much watering the lawn needs, growth rates which will impact on how often the lawn needs mowing, and recovery from wear and tear which will impact on how much traffic your lawn can withstand.

Sapphire® Stenotaphrum secundatum ‘B12’ PBR is the most shade tolerant of all of the buffalo grasses and will tolerate up to 70% shade. This should be the turf of choice for heavily shaded areas.Palmetto® Stenotaphrum secundatum ‘SS100’ PBR is also a very shade tolerant buffalo grass that has very good wear recovery and drought tolerance making it a very good all round shade grass. Both Sapphire® and Palmetto® are considered amongst the very best options for high performance shady lawns. Other buffalo grasses are slightly less shade tolerant and will perform better in no more than 60% shade.

The buffalo grasses have a larger leaf blade than other grasses, which helps with their shade tolerance. If the look of a finer leaf is desired for a lawn, the zoysia grasses are a very good choice. They will take up to 50% shade so are far more shade tolerant than couch or kikuyu but not as tolerant as buffalo grasses.

Empire™ Zoysia japonica ‘SS500’ PBR is perhaps the most reliable of the zoysia turf varieties, but the zoysia range also includes a native turf – Nara™ Zoysia macrantha ‘MAC03’ PBR, which is the only Australian native grass which has been developed into a high performance turf grass. The zoysias are very hardy grasses which are very drought tolerant and have less need for fertiliser and mowing.

With sufficient water and care these lawns can all be very thick and lush in shady areas. As with all lawns, regular mowing is important to prevent the lawns getting too long and losing vigour and density. Shade lawns should always be mown fairly high – do not mow a shade lawn low. As there is less light, it will need the extra length of leaf blade to support growth.

If mowing is neglected shady lawns can easily become sparse and lanky.

In general lawns in shady locations will need less water and fertiliser than lawns in full sun, and growth will be a little slower, although this may be barely noticeable in hot humid climates. This can make shade lawns less work to maintain. If the amount of light is suitable for zoysia grasses, these will be the lowest maintenance lawns for both sunny and shady lawns., being very drought tolerant and needing less mowing than the buffalo grasses.

All shade lawns will be slower to recover from wear and tear than will lawns receiving more sun, regardless of grass type. For this reason it is recommended that shade lawns are not the main play area for the family. To aid recovery, select a grass type which is suitable for the level of shade and following any intense use, feed and water the lawn well and keep off for a period of time to assist recovery. A well mown lawn which has been able to become quite thick will withstand wear and tear better than will one which is sparse to begin with.

Buffalo grasses have a reputation for building up thatch which makes the lawn feel spongy and unstable to walk on. This most frequently happens when mown too high and when grown in sunny locations. Buffalo grasses grown in sunny locations can be mown shorter than the same grass growing in more shade. Always choose a low thatching variety to minimise this problem, Palmetto® and Sapphire® are recommended. If thatch does build up your shade lawn will lose vigour. De-thatching will be important under these circumstances, followed by more frequent mowing. By mowing the grass shorter than usual once every year or two you will prevent the development of thatch. This should always be done in spring and followed up with feeding and watering.

Buffalo grasses can provide extremely beautiful lawns in shady locations, but are far more successful when selected and cared for with consideration for the level of shade they receive.

Please note: Where 'New Content' is written at the top of an article this content has been added by the new owners of this website. If 'New Content' is not written, the information is from the previous site owner.

All content original and copyright
The Lawn Guide
Lawn Care Tips
you may also like one of
these lawn care articles...
General Lawn Care
Keep it neat & tidy By Kate Wall 'New Content' Part of mowing a lawn...
'New Content' By Kate Wall Your back lawn may not be the MCG, but if...
Fertilisers are food for lawns The Role Of Lawn Fertilisers We see...
Lawn Repair
A Vertimowing / Scarifying Machine What is Vertimowing or Lawn...
Couch Invading Buffalo Killing An Invading Grass Species With so many...
Lawn scalped due to infrequent mowing Why Lawns Get Scalped Lawns or...
Lawn Watering
A malfunctioning sprinkler Checking Reticulation Our reticulation...
Watering too often Excessive Watering Of Lawns When we talk about...
When is the best time to water lawns Correct Lawn Watering Times...
Lawn Mowing
Time To Mow Lawns Higher In Perth Perth and it's surrounding towns...
Raise Mowing Heights For Soft Buffalo Lawns One of the biggest...
'New Content' By Kate Wall When it comes time to buy a mower we can...
Weeds | Pests | Diseases
White Clover How To Kill White Clover White Clover is noticeable by...
Common Kikuyu Invading Buffalo Is Your Buffalo Really A Buffalo...
Oxalis How To Kill Oxalis | Soursob | Wood Sorrel There are many...
Lawn Varieties
Saltene Grass Characteristics of Saltene Grass Saltene lawn is a bit...
Couch Grass Characteristics of Couch Grass Couch Grass is by far one...
Which Lawn Variety Is Right For Our Home When taken into full...

Lawn care covers everything to do with maintenance of lawns, including seasonal lawn care, lawn fertilising, lawn clippings, seeding & more
independent lawn care tips for australian lawns

Lawn Care Facts
Lawn Fact:
The old saying... "1 year of seeding equals 7 years of weeding" is TRUE. Seeds can stay in the ground for many years, only germinating a percentage each year. This ensures the survival of the plant species - where if conditions aren't right for it's survival this year - conditions will be right at some time in the next few years.
Professional lawn care videos sharing quality lawn care tips in an easy video format - click to watch
correct lawn watering and fertilising video
meanings to the most common terms
used in lawn care practices in australia
Lawn Care Expert
Respected Australian turf and plant breeder Todd Layt shares expert lawn care advice with lawn lovers
Grab this image and link to Australia's original & favourite source of quality lawn care tips
Lawn care tips for Australia's favourite shade grass
Organic lawn care advice to create environmental benefit from our lawns
Fix Lawn Problems As Quickly As Possible Reducing the use of chemical treatments and reducing...
Natural control of lawn weeds Controlling Lawn Weeds Without Pesticides Weeds don't need to...
Using Artificial Fertilisers In Organic Lawn Care The principles of organic lawn care involve...
A low maintenance and environmentally friendly lawn for all warmer regions
Zoysia Lawn Seed Zoysia grass can be grown into a home lawn by many different methods. It can...
Who Shouldn't Choose A Zoysia Lawn We understand that Zoysia will not be the best lawn for...
Zoysia Grass Has Warm Origins Zoysia grasses all derive from warm and often tropical regions,...
Lawn care discussions and observations in a friendly blog format from The Lawn Guide
Lawns Are The Greatest Carbon Cleaners We should all have confidence in our lawns, knowing...
Understanding Couch Grass In Queensland Like so many other aspects of Australian life, prior...
Where Do Lawns Come From We're all very accustomed to our lawns these days, they seem to be...

Lawn Care Topics
the lawn guide ~ australia's leading source of quality lawn care information