Lawns under the shade of trees are typically thin, weak, and of poor quality. Maintaining a quality stand of grass under the shade of trees can be difficult and requires modifications in lawn care practices. Shade-tolerant grasses still need an acceptable amount of light to grow. In addition, lawns in shade areas generally cannot tolerate or recover from stress problems as compared to lawns growing in full sun.
Choosing a shade-tolerant grass mixture is critical. Fine fescues are the primary lawn species in these mixtures. Even to grow the most shade-tolerant lawn species, it is recommended to have at least 2 hours of direct sunlight every day. This minimum amount of light does not equate to a high-quality stand of grass. Additional sunlight will yield improved quality.
Start reducing shade for grass growth by pruning vegetation (trees and large shrubs) as much as feasible to allow the maximum amount of light to reach the soil surface. Keep in mind that healthy shade trees offer more property value and utility savings to a home than a lawn.