Grass – Replacing Bermuda

Q: We are investigating the replacement of our bermuda grass with zoysia or a more shade-tolerant bermuda. Large areas of our yard are partially shady. Can you recommend which grass is considered the best?

A: In my view there are few ways to predict the success of turfgrass installed in a “partially shady” location. The total sunlight that reaches the grass is a key factor but landscapers have few ways to measure this. Much depends on their experience. Pine tree shade differs a great deal from oak tree shade. In addition, proper soil preparation, including lime and starter fertilizer, has a huge effect on success. TifGrand bermudagrass and Zeon zoysiagrass can tolerate some amount of shade, but how much is hard to determine beforehand. I’d go with a contractor who offers the best guarantee, preferably one that lasts more than 12 months. Of course this assumes you care for the grass appropriately in the meantime.

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