How to maintain a lawn in shaded conditions, 10 easy steps.

shaded lawn area
A shaded lawn area may be difficult to maintain throughout the entire year if enough light is not present.

A shaded lawn area can be difficult to keep a lush healthy lawn surface if not enough light is present particularly in winter months when the sun is very low in the sky. Many shaded lawns will turn to moss and allow weeds to penetrate, lets try to help you out a bit by going through a 10 easy steps that may solve your problem:

  1. Allow the light to shine. If possible open the lawn area up to allow more light.
  2. Apply lime once a year. Lime will adjust the ph balance of your soil and may strengthen your grass.
  3. Over seed with a fast germinating grass seed. Use a rye grass type seed mixed in with a fescue. This will give you fast ground coverage while the shade type seed are germinating. Do this often.
  4. Fertilize the lawn area often, but use less fertlizer. Feed you grass more often in shaded areas than in regular lawn areas but feed it less per application.
  5. Always keep debris off the lawn area. Use a leaf blower to remove excess debris from your lawn.
  6. Limit foot traffic. Worn down grass will become weak and turn to mud, limit the traffic and allow the shaded lawn to recover before using again.
  7. Mow at a minimum 3 inch height. By keeping the grass blades a little longer we are adding just a little more strength to the shaded area.
  8. Be patient. It takes time to recover a lawn in a shaded area.
  9. You need heat in the soil to have grass grow. December / January/ February / March are not times when shaded area lawns will do well.
  10. Plant a shade tolerant type sod. Sod grown with a fescue type grass seed will survive better in shaded lawn areas.

The list above will be basically everything you can do to help your lawn out in shaded lawn area, beyond this list of 10 things I would seriously consider other options for your area. Shade loving ground plants, gravel, mulches or paving stones are just a few other options.

Where to buy shade tolerant sod in Vancouver, B.C.

Use the link below to get pricing and order shade type sod online from BC Instant Lawns:

Learn more about shade tolerant sod

My lawn isn’t looking so good, what can i do?

Chafer Beetle in a Vancouver lawn
Chafer Beetle in a Vancouver lawn

Your lawn is a living thing. It requires certain conditions to grow properly and thrive. let’s look at a list of things that require your lawn to grow:

  1. Sunlight
  2. Water
  3. Food
  4. Heat
  5. A non toxic environment

If you are missing any of the components above your lawn will fail to grow properly. In order to fix your lawn you need to decide where the deficiencies may be and take corrective action. Let’s explore each one and come up with some solutions to help solve your lawn problem:


Without sunlight your lawn will fail, perhaps slowly or maybe really fast. If you plant sod in a non direct sunlight area where moss was present prior to installation, the likelihood that your new sod will become thin and muddy looking after a few short weeks on the ground is fairly high. Lawns need direct sunlight for at least 50% of the day in order to survive the whole year. You need to either not plant grass is this area or plan on repairing this area frequently.

Corrective Actions for low sunlight areas:

  1. Create more light (if possible)
  2. Do not plant grass is low light areas.
  3. Over seed frequently (4 times a year in growing seasons)
  4. Fertilize often.
  5. keep debris off the area.
  6. Apply lime.
  7. Do not mow short.
  8. Plant a shade tolerant type sod. Although this is not a complete solution to the problem it will increase your chances of survival throughout the entire year.

Some will accept the fact that the area where they have problems with low levels of light the sod does not make it through an entire year and re-plant sod every spring.

Watering Lawns and Sod

Your lawn requires water to grow or some grasses will go into a dormant state while others will die off and need to be replanted. Then on the other hand water soaked areas will kill off many grass types. Lawns prefer to have a well drained type soil that allow for constant moisture. This isn’t difficult to obtain if we construct the lawn area using the proper type and depth of soil to grow the new lawn upon. Many places today are concerned about using potable water as a source for lawn watering and this further complicates the issue of allowing your lawn to have water when it needs it most.

Corrective actions for water issues in Lawns:

  1. Allow for proper drainage in your lawn.
  2. Construct your lawn using a minimum of 3 inches of a well draining soil. 6 inches is best but can become very costly to construct. You will find that the deeper the well drained soil the less you need to water after your sod has established.
  3. Do not hand water your lawn, it’s not effective in providing deep watering less often. Unless you can use a fire hose with a high frequency output. Go ahead and test this in late summer, stand in one spot for 5 minutes and then scratch the surface to see how far the water has penetrated into the soil.
  4. Use a sprinkler or lawn irrigation system. Irrigation systems now have water sensors that can switch on and off with moisture content deep in the soil.

Your lawn will not require much water throughout the year if constructed properly, pay attention to the temperature of the ground to assess the amount of evaporation that may occur through the week.

Lawn Food

Feeding your lawn is a bit of a mystery for some and many are convinced that the name brand on the package will surely give them a better lawn. There are 3 basic chemicals that make up lawn fertilizer and each plays a role in the growth of your lawn area:

  1. N – Nitrogen
  2. P – Phosphorus
  3. K – Potassium

The items are expressed in order on the bag in terms of percentages, for example:


Gives us:

10% of the bag by weight is Nitrogen, 20% of the bag by weight is Phosphorus, 14% of the bag by weight is Potassium.

Now if we discover what each element does to our lawn:

N – Top growth
P- Root Growth
K – All round plant health
Scotts – It’s a name and does nothing

Remember the chemical type fertilizer is water soluble and will run out of your lawn if much water is applied. To apply a fertilizer to your lawn a good choice will be a slow release type fertlizer, this allow the grain to feed the plant slowly when exposed to moisture. This will also prevent runoff from your lawn area.

If your lawn is yellowing in growing season and not growing fast and your certain other elements are not affecting the growth of your lawn, apply a fertilizer to your lawn area. Using an equally balanced type fertlizer such as 20-20-20 or similar will provide you results within a week. Apply only 2-3 lbs. per 1000 square feet and do not apply less that 45 days between applications. If that does not produce results you may want to look into possibility of a toxic lawn area or incorrect ph balance meaning acidic or alkaline area.

Temperature of the soil

Lawns do not grow when the soil is cool, they sit dormant. As the temperature of the soil rises the lawn area will wake up from dormancy and begin to grow. Many are concerned in March that there must be something wrong with their lawn when if fact it’s still dormant from the winter. Before judging your lawn by its colour, wait until the soil temperature comes up in April.

Soil Ph balance of your lawn

It’s an okay practice to apply lime to your lawn once a year, but do you really know what you are doing? Many people do not have a clue what the ph balance of their soil is and yet run out and apply lime to their lawn, that’s what makes us all great scientists. When your ph balance of your lawn is off, the grass will not accept food and your lawn will not grow properly. Test your soil, if you have a problem that wasn’t solved by following the list above, get a baseline to start from. Please don’t randomly throw products on your lawn.

To figure out when to apply fertlizer, over seed, lime and when to water your lawn, please read:

Healthy lawn area
A healthy lawn area

How to control the chafer beetle in your lawn

Chafer Beetle in a Vancouver lawn
Chafer Beetle in a Vancouver lawn, could have been prevented with proper lawn maintenance and care

There are some very simple steps that can be taken to help limit and or control infestations of chafer beetles in lawns, unfortunately from my experience, many customers still do not follow these simple items:

Simple lawn maintenance items to stop the chafer beetle

  1. Fertilize your lawn.
  2. Overseed your lawn.
  3. Keep debris off your lawn.
  4. Mow your lawn at the proper height.
  5. Take corrective action if you notice any problem with the growth of your lawn.

The customer who has a full blown infestations of the chafer beetle in their lawn area normally did not follow the steps above and allowed their lawn area to become weak and susceptible to pests and diseases. This leaves the customer with a lawn area that looks like a rototiller has run through it after the crows, skunks and racoons have had their feast of fishing bait. This new condition of your lawn will now be grounds for a lawn replacement and new sod.

To help control the initial stages of a chafer beetle infestation an application of nematodes in the third week of July will probably be 50% effective at decimating the little eggs that were implanted in your lawn. To help increase your odds, other expensive products that work at attacking the eggs are now available to apply near the same period of time. It’s at this point we will now refer to the list above and follow a program to help rejuvenate your lawn area. By doing this list above we are decreasing the chances that we will get a re-infestation the following year. That’s because the chafer beetle life cycle is an annual cycle that if stopped will save your lawn from total decimation. The key characteristic to remember of the chafer beetle that will help you is: The chafer beetle does not like to implant her eggs in healthy lawns, she likes weak lawn areas to procreate. If you present the chafer bitch with a lush, dense, healthy lawn area to nest her eggs, she will probably find somewhere else to do her business.

So, keep your lawn healthy, follow the list above and if you need to replace your lawn, do so, but have confidence that you now have a strong healthy lawn area that the chafer beetle is not likely to attack.

If you want a strong healthy lawn fertilizer and grass seed applications are a must. You can now purchase these items from us using the following link:

Chafer Beetle Resistant Type Sod

Chafer beetles resistant sod is designed to limit the chafer beetle decimation in your lawn area by utilizing fescue type grasses that are not typically part of the diet of the chafer beetle. Learn more….

Recovering your lawn after a chafer beetle attack

After your lawn has been decimated from the crows, skunks and racoons you have basically 2 options:

  1. Complete lawn replacement.
  2. Rejuvenate your lawn area with a program.

Use the following links to get help with either of these options: