Grass seed for Sandy/shady area

Cool season grasses like Kentucky Bluegrass, Fescue & Rye
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Posts: 303
Joined: Sat May 30, 2020 6:37 pm
Location: South Carolina
Grass Type: Centipede
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Grass seed for Sandy/shady area

Post by mwemaxxowner »

I did some grading in a back yard for a friend today. The area is shady and sandy. He's asking me about helping him get some grass established, and he certainly needs to or he's going to have some erosion issues.

I feel like it's probably a good candidate for centipede or Bermuda (if the shade isn't too severe) but I would like to get something establishing sooner than later. I know those won't be doing any germinating until spring.

I've thrown out some Rye in similar spots at home and it grows well despite the sand and the shade. However, I doubt he's going to want to spend the money on a grass that'll be so short lived.

I'm wondering about creeping red fescue. Will it germinate in cooler temperatures? It may be too late for even rye now, I don't know. It has been warm enough lately, but we seem to be turning a corner and finally getting colder weather here in SC.

I doubt I can talk him into sod.

Pictured is the area, if you can tell anything useful from a photo.




The rye I have germinating and growing steady at home over the past month maybe has me overly optimistic we can get something going. Maybe I need to talk him into letting me put down some mat and straw to help reduce erosion until spring.
Northern SC, 13.5k ft² centipede in front started from sod. Half irrigated by below ground irrigation, half by above ground system with impacts. Back yard is a mixture of wild grasses. Very sandy soil.

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Re: Grass seed for Sandy/shady area

Post by 0318 »

I overseeded my lawn last year with CRF, soil temps were about 55F and I’ve head germination after 14 days. Also on sandy soil, so very similair to your friends.

What is your soil temp now?

Comming spring I will most likely overseed again with CRF so I’m following this!
Hopefully some more experienced people can help further

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Re: Grass seed for Sandy/shady area

Post by Green »

Use a Tall Fescue/fine fescue mix for that area. Specifically, strong Creeping red and/or Chewings fine fescue, paired with a blend of low-growing or dwarf TTTF (which have fairly fine blades and good shade performance). 80/20 to 70/30 TTTF/FF ratios would probably work well.

You'll need to wait a month or so to seed, though. No way around that. If you absolutely need something before that to stabilize soil, you can try Perennial Ryegrass at around 3 lbs per thousand now and then overseed in early March or so with the Fescue mix, but you'd have to keep that Ryegrass seeding rate low or the Fescue seed will not take. Also, no guarantee it'll germinate for 3-5 weeks due to current temps anyway, so might not be worth the gamble. If you can get clean annual Ryegrass seed (try Hogan for that), you can try that, but it'll need to be sprayed out before it makes seedheads in Spring, prior to final seeding.
Front: Northern mix - mostly TTTF, KBG, TTPR. Back: Firecracker and Bullseye TTTF with America, Rugby 2, Bewitched KBG. Upper Side: Mostly TTPR, KBG. Lower Side: similar to front. Low-input: TF/FF, KBG, PR. Always seeding somewhere or fighting Triv.

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