The Best Grass to Grow in Shady Areas

Here in central Florida, we have a variety of warm-weather grasses to choose from when planning our lawns. However, most of these grasses are developed to thrive in full sun and high heat. For homeowners with shady lawns, choosing hardy warm-weather grass that doesn’t require full sun can be quite difficult.

Compounding the problem are lawns with both sunny and shady areas. These lawns present unique challenges for the homeowner who strives for a lawn that is perfectly uniform in both height and color.

Have no fear! Through research from both sod manufacturers and universities, several varieties of shade-tolerant grass have been developed to solve this exact problem. We will discuss some of the most popular varieties below. More of a visual learner? Check out our Shade Scale at the end of the post:

Scotts® ProVista™ is quickly becoming the gold standard for Florida lawns. Backed by 20 years of research, this slow-growing, thick, and lush sod variety gives an even carpet in lawns that have both sunny and shady areas. Since it has a slow, horizontal growth pattern, you’ll mow 50% less than traditional sod varieties, cutting down your landscaping bill by thousands per year! It’s also glyphosate resistant, meaning weed control won’t leave little brown spots all over your yard or require back-breaking pulling by hand. ProVista™ is truly revolutionary for Florida lawns and one of our highest recommended sod varieties here at Council Growers Sod!

Seville St. Augustine has been around for a while, and there’s a reason it’s still a go-to for several Florida homeowners and landscapers. As one of the most shade-tolerant St. Augustine varieties, Seville offers a lighter blue-green color, a low-growth habit, and is soft to the touch as it has a finer blade than most of its counterparts. Seville will also perform well in full sun, making it a good choice for combination yards. It grows well in sand, clay, or even muckier soils, and can tolerate a wide range of pH levels and salt stress. Its dense growth pattern can push out weeds, but some weed control or pulling will be required. 

If the deeper blue grasses are your style, then Bitterblue St. Augustine (also spelled Bitter Blue) may be perfect for you! Bitterblue is an improved variety of traditional Floratam St. Augustine, so it has the wide, coarse blades that most people associate with the grass. However, bitterblue was specifically made to be more shade-tolerant than Floratam, along with some improved cold tolerance as well. Bitterblue does not like most chemical herbicides, so hand-pulling weeds may be required to avoid browning. Also, avoid laying Bitterblue during times of high humidity, as it is prone to fungal diseases if oversaturated.

EMPIRE Turf® Zoysia is by far the best zoysia grass for Florida lawns. EMPIRE Turf® boasts finer grass blades than St. Augustine, making it perfect for homeowners who don’t want the “crabgrass” look. It is moderately shade-tolerant, grows extra slow so sunny and shady areas stay more uniform, and does great in drier areas as it is drought resistant. Chinch bugs also don’t stand a chance with EMPIRE Turf® Zoysia.

Shade Scale

Premium Sod for Your Tampa Bay Lawn

If your lawn is sunny, shady, or a combination of both, Council Growers Sod in southern Hillsborough County has the right sod variety to keep your lawn looking healthy and green all year long. We’ll coordinate with your schedule to deliver our fresh, locally-grown sod right to your doorstep, preventing common issues like over-drying. Call us at (813) 633-8665 or visit www.freshsod.com for more information and to choose your shade-tolerant sod variety today!