View Full Version : What is the Best grass for low light and heavy dog traffic

Lawn rangers of texas
12-28-2008, 09:03 PM
What is the Best grass for low light and heavy dog traffic.I live in Dallas Texas.


12-28-2008, 09:19 PM
Artificial Turf:confused: I dont think there is a grass that can stand up to low light and dogs. Good luck man. Try selling on ground cover or mulch the area.

Ted Bell
12-28-2008, 09:31 PM
You need at least 6 hours of direct sunlight for grasses for our area (Bermuda or St. Augustine).

Otherwise, go with a ground cover.

Lawn rangers of texas
12-28-2008, 09:44 PM
What about buffalo grass? I heard it was very strong.If I trim the trees it might give me the light i need.

12-28-2008, 10:01 PM
You are going to have dirt no matter what you do unless you get rid of the trees and keep the animals off your yard.

St. Augustine will not tolerate heavy foot traffic and Bermuda does not care for dogs at all!

I don't know jack squat about Buffalo grass.

Walk your dogs at a dog park and clean up after them. Otherwise quit trying to have a decent stand of turf.

12-28-2008, 10:03 PM
Tifway 419 is a hearty grass.

Some info can be found here. http://www.southernturf.com/TurfGrasses/tifway.asp

12-28-2008, 10:05 PM
not good in shade. Sorry man.

12-28-2008, 10:21 PM
Ignore everyone else. your only option for dallas shade grass is going to be fescue.

heavy dog traffic will not be the best, but it can withstand some. mow it lower and let it tiller better to become dense.

Lawn rangers of texas
12-28-2008, 10:27 PM
It's not my yard I am doing It is for one of my regulars. I there something I should put down and till in before I lay? And what is the best time of the year to do this?

Turf Dawg
12-28-2008, 11:35 PM
The newer Bermuda named Celabration is great for recovering from injury and is the best shade tolarant of all the Bermudas I know of. But having said that, like others have stated, low light and dogs make for a lawn killer. If the dogs just run a path around the fence then you can build a dog run and then resod the rest of the areas. I know this sounds like bad news but there is not a grass that can stand up to this type situation.

12-29-2008, 08:56 AM
Ignore everyone else. your only option for dallas shade grass is going to be fescue.

heavy dog traffic will not be the best, but it can withstand some. mow it lower and let it tiller better to become dense.

Just forget about turfgrass if you've got a pooch that's extremely damaging in a deep shade situation, Lawn rangers.

Talk to your local nurseryman about what specific types of groundcovers would work best in this locale, or go to the 'landscape' forum on this site.
There are plenty of Southern shade-loving groundcover species that can handle dog traffic pretty well.
Some of them will tend to climb and cling to things as they grow, but there are others that wont.
The only real "jobs" will be applying pre-emergent & fertilizer in these beds, trimming them up maybe 2 to 3X during the summer, and blowing any excess leaves out of them in the fall.

12-29-2008, 12:05 PM
Your groundcover choices are this, and none of them will work.

Hedera helix
Vinca major/minor

Go with what I said, fescue.

Seed this in about 3 months come March/April when temps arent freezing, but arent extremely warm. Check seed germination temps for Fescue, but I'd bet something about 62-70 degrees is prime.

12-29-2008, 09:53 PM
Your groundcover choices are this, and none of them will work.

Hedera helix
Vinca major/minor

Dude! :waving:
You need to get out and look at some different landscapes!
Maybe get out of your OWN little 'half-empty' box, once in a while! :waving:

Here's a decent promo on groundcovers written by Milberger's Nursery out of San Antonio TX.

Groundcovers and "Blue Shade" Blooming Groundcover

QUESTION: Why won't the grass grow under my trees anymore?

ANSWER: St. Augustine grass tolerates shade, but it doesn't thrive in it. It seems to do okay under young trees, but as the trees get larger and cast more shade, the grass starts slowly thinning out. The reason is not the lack of fertilizer, competition with the tree roots, insect damage or disease. The grass thins due to insufficient light. Finally, one spring, it disappears and doesn't come back at all-leaving bare ground under the tree. You re-sprig or re-sod with new grass-but it doesn't grow either or fades away after a short time. Quite simply, there's not enough light there for the grass to become established. So let's look at your options.

If you haven't yet completely lost the grass, take steps to keep it going. The following may help:

1. Raise the height of your mower blade to the setting which will mow the grass as high as possible.

2. Practice deep, less?frequent watering of the lawn.

3. Avoid foot traffic in these areas.

4. Thin-out crowns of existing trees to allow more light to penetrate.

5. Remove fallen leaves promptly in fall and winter.

Feed the tree in addition to the amount of regular, slow-release fertilization of the lawn grass under the tree.

Prune tree limbs to a height of 8 to 10 feet to permit more sunlight to reach the grass.
If all of these techniques fail, ground covers may be the only answer. Ground covers are low?growing plants that spread by underground or above?ground stems with an inherent trailing-growth habit. As these plants grow and develop, they produce a continuous mat on the soil surface. Ground cover plants may range from woody vines to dwarf shrubs.

Some of the prominent uses of ground covers in typical situations are to cover bare areas of ground; prevent erosion of the soil; give variety in the yard; regulate foot traffic in the landscape when used as edging for pathways, or to tie together unrelated shrubs and flower beds.

Ground covers are frequently used under or around trees where grass grows poorly or where exposed tree roots make mowing a hazard. Ground cover plants eliminate the need for mowing as well as concealing the exposed tree roots.

Many possibilities for living ground covers are now available locally. For shade or partial shade, consider Algerian ivy, Blue Shade, English ivy, mondo grass, liriope, aspidistra (Cast Iron plant), holly fern, River fern, Confederate jasmine, Asiatic jasmine, and hypericum. Excellent choices for sunny locations include Asiatic jasmine, mondo grass, creeping junipers, purple leaf honeysuckle, liriope, daylilies, santolina, cotoneaster, sedum, lantana (New Gold or creeping lantana), rosemary, Confederate jasmine and dwarf yaupon. Here are brief descriptions of some of these plants:

English Ivy: Dark green evergreen vine. Tolerates heavy shade to moderate sun. Grows to 10 inches. Many varieties are available.

Algerian Ivy: A larger leafed cousin of English ivy. Beautiful glossy green foliage that prefers moderate shade. Very aggressive.

Liriope: Clumping evergreen plant with grasslike foliage. Blue or white floral spikes in the summer. Several varieties.

Mondo grass: A small-leafed cousin of the liriopes. No conspicuous flowers, aggressive. Adapted to sun or shade.

Asiatic jasmine: Robust evergreen sprawling vine for full sun or shade. Probably the best all around ground cover plant.

Creeping junipers: Many low growing forms available. Common for rock gardens, near patios, or in other hot areas. Require full sun.

Blue shade: A perennial plant, meaning one that survives from year to year. The plant spreads as a vine, much like Asiatic jasmine but does so much faster. The foliage is like velvet. The plant is drought tolerant, roots easily and is low-growing. It thrives in sun or shade and BLOOMS IN BOTH. For a perennial, Blue Shade is a prolific bloomer if given some sun. If grown completely in the dense shade it will, like most plants, bloom less. Blue Shade blooms profusely when growth first begins, then the blooms fade as seed pods begin to form and dry. To insure the initiation of new growth and, subsequently more bloom, Blue Shade should be lightly sheared every 30 days or so. Blue Shade dies to the ground by the first frost of fall but re-grows the following spring in May. If Blue Shade doesn't bloom as prolific as some desire, plantings can be enhanced with the beautiful shady?tolerant color plants such as impatiens (sultana), begonias, coleus or caladiums.

Proper soil preparation is needed before ground cover plants are planted. Dig the soil at least 6 inches deep. Rake thoroughly to remove grass roots. Spread 2 to 3 inches of organic material such as peat, well?rotted manure, or leaf mold over the ground and spade it into the soil.

On rocky or uneven soil, where the entire area cannot be worked, dig individual holes. Dig these deep enough so you can backfill partially with soil mixed with organic materials before you set the plants.

Ground covers can be planted any time during the growing season. Fall and spring plantings give best results if containerized plants are used.

Ground covers are slower than grass in covering bare ground. Consequently, weeds are likely to grow, especially the first year. A mulch of bark, compost, or other organic material will control most weeds, as well as retain moisture in the soil. Pull the weeds by hand if they break through the mulch. Grasses can be controlled WITHOUT damaging broadleaf ground covers by spraying contaminated areas with a new product called fusilade (sold as Ortho Grass?B?Gon-NOT Weed?B?Gon-, Poast, Over-the-Top, Bermuda Grass Killer). To eliminate a long?term weed control war, plant ground cover transplants as thick as you can afford, i.e., plant larger, more expensive 1-gallon containerized plants 1-foot apart, or plant 4?inch potted ground covers spaced 6?inches apart.

Water ground cover on a regular schedule throughout the growing season, particularly during dry weather. During the winter months, water the plants thoroughly when the soil becomes dry and the temperature is above freezing. IT IS JUST AS IMPORTANT TO NOT WATER TOO MUCH AS IT IS NOT TO LET THE SOIL DRY IN PLANTING BEDS. MORE ground cover plants are killed by watering TOO MUCH, than by not watering enough. Check for the absence of soil moisture by lightly digging around the base of the plants with your finger before watering

Ground covers usually need pruning only to remove dead wood and to keep the plantings in bounds........................


Ted Bell
12-29-2008, 10:27 PM
Go with what I said, fescue.

Fescue will crap out in July and August in North Texas, due to the heat.

White Gardens
12-30-2008, 02:01 PM
I'd Landscape the area.

A good border, rock or mulch, and some good shade plants to fill it in.

12-30-2008, 07:31 PM
Fescue will crap out in July and August in North Texas, due to the heat.

not if you water it enough. maybe in ft worth, but not dallas.

I forgot about asian jasmine. I wouldnt consider that a real option for pet traffic. wouldnt consider junipers as well. too much material for the pet to get hung up and hurt on.

12-30-2008, 08:38 PM
I would go with an aggressive, spreading variety of lirope, such as liriope 'spicata.'

Asiatic jasmine would be a poor choice to use in an area planned for animal use.

Liriope is far more similar to turf grass than Asiatic jasmine... Were you to plant Asiatic jasmine, the dog(s) may possibly refuse to use the area because he doesn't like the jasmine tickling his belly, the feel of it under his feet, etc.

Go with lirope. You, the dogs, and most importantly, the client, will be happy.

01-01-2009, 10:02 PM



After 37-years of cutting lawns in Dallas, I have met my match in Corpus Christi with this stuff. Mows just fine, woody lowers, blends well in a mixed lawn (all my lawns have been combo bermuda/st a.), BUT it is tough to remove once started. My experience has been that strong st. A. will crowd out anything but Dallis grass, but horseherb ignores anything else.



I'd thin the trees a little to get more light through. I'd also make a run out to City of Mesquite for heavy application of "compost" to give that ground some bounce under dog feet.

DA Quality Lawn & YS
01-06-2009, 04:34 PM
What is the Best grass for low light and heavy dog traffic.I live in Dallas Texas.


Umm, none. Low light may be worked around. But, keep the dogs off or you will never have anything acceptable.

01-15-2009, 02:49 PM
What is the Best grass for low light and heavy dog traffic.I live in Dallas Texas.