View Full Version : Shade and wear - any options?

03-14-2012, 08:53 PM
I think I'm asking a question that has been asked before, and I think I understand the ultimate answer to this, but I'd really like to figure out all my options.

I have a customer who has a very shaded back yard, and wants to deal with the dirt/mud problem. They have two dogs (small and large), and a couple kids that like to play in the area. Simply put - high traffic, low light.

Here in Kansas, the summers can get pretty intense. The winters, on the other hand can cool down quite a bit. Right now the yard is tall fescue.

I think the main "options" are fine fescue, and zoysia. My understanding is that particularly fine fescue handles the shade part well. I'm not sure on zoysia. The customer recently asked me about the zoysia, and before I listed off reasons why not to, I wanted to check on it. He wanted to plug a somewhat small part of the backyard.

My concern with zoysia is that it will take over the yard, look bad in the winter (and possibly be damaged in the winter when it's dormant), and not handle shade well.

With the fine fescue, even if it gets started, I think it will be destroyed with wear in a few weeks. I also am a little reserved on if it will handle the summer heat.

I don't think there's enough light for bluegrass.

What are my options? They are willing to put a lot into it.

Thank you all so much for the help!

03-15-2012, 09:45 AM
With dogs in the mix, I wouldn't expect that seeding any kind of grass seed would be a good investment.

We're too cold for zoysia up here, so I don't know if it would be a good idea or not... but, the notion of 'plugs' would be better than 'seed', IMO...

03-15-2012, 10:09 AM
That's a good point that I forgot to mention. The HO mentioned zoysia plugs.

If I plugged it and the zoysia did survive what about all the TTTF in his yard. Would the zoysia take over?
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03-15-2012, 04:35 PM
I don't think you know how slow zoysia grow's. You might get 8 inch's a year in full sun, in shade i don't think your going to get any. Forget about grass with dog's,kid's and shade. Gravel for the dog's, mulch for the kid's. I am totally serious.

03-16-2012, 03:34 PM
Thanks for the tip. I was thinking hard scales will be their only option. My biggest concern was the zoysia taking over. I've thought about letting them try zoysia but obviously giving them the facts about any grass growing there.

Thanks guys for the help.
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Patriot Services
03-16-2012, 04:52 PM
The customer must read about Zoysias miracle properties in the Sunday Parade magazine. It will not do what you want in the area you want to put it in. I've had luck with perennial Ryes, but it requires regular overseeding. Dogs are a real issue with any turf.
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03-16-2012, 05:04 PM
Perennial rye is an interesting idea. I think it would really struggle over the summer. But with some fungicide, I suppose it may pull through (enough). Do you know how it handles shade? It wouldn't be a big deal to reseed every fall (maybe the spring in addition).

I'll check out the article you mentioned.
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Patriot Services
03-16-2012, 05:07 PM
The article is actually a marketing hype for Zoysia. Perennial Rye is one of the few that tolerates dense shade even in Florida heat. Check the ingredients of a bag of Scotts Dense Shade mix.
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03-16-2012, 05:13 PM
Ok. Thanks for your help.
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03-16-2012, 09:36 PM
Would they consider artificial turf? It doesn't rot and can be hosed off when the dog uses it. You prep the area the same as if you were installing patio bricks.

I prefer my Fender Jazz over my Precision or my other basses, although the Pre has a nicer tone.

03-16-2012, 11:48 PM
I hadn't thought of artificial at all and I think it's a great idea. At least it gives them options. I think the artificial may end up looking the best, and may end up being the least maintenance. Also, because it's a smaller area, it may not be inordinately expensive.

Any particular brand that you recommend?

I've never installed it, so does it do OK with weird angles and trees? I assume it would be like cutting sod out after the base is set.

03-17-2012, 12:04 AM
You'll have to find a wholesaler in your area. I use a couple of them around here myself.

Look for turf that is "Lead free" and gives you a ten year warranty. It comes in different styles. ie: with a thatch layer if you want, or short putting greens, various lengths and shades of green.

It is also 100 per cent recycleable

You cut it to shape with a carpet knife.

Google: artificial turf, dog run grass and things like that.

Most of the stuff is made in China. That's why I say to watch out for any that has lead in it. That's bad for kids and dogs.

some manufacturers have you top dress with a sand or rubber pellet type material. The stuff I use doesn't need any of that. I prep the ground properly and lay down the carpet over top.

You need a good gravel base with an inch of sand on top. You secure the turf down with spikes.

It drains really well, cleans up with a hose or a blower and it looks good and green all year long.