What Kind of Grass Grows in the Shade in Oklahoma?

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Oklahoma falls into what is known as the transitional zone when it comes to growing grass. This means both warm- and cold-season grasses grow in many areas of the state. While many varieties of grass can be established in Oklahoma, only a handful are considered suitable for areas with shade. These grasses are generally of the cold-season variety (in contrast, warm-weather grasses tend to require full sun).


Tall Fescue

Tall fescue is a cold-season grass found in both the northern and transitional states. With the proper care, tall fescue thrives in shaded sites where many warm-season grasses do not survive. This type of grass also has the ability to adapt to different types of water and soil conditions. It does well in the parts of Oklahoma that have soil with good drainage and some clay content. It germinates quickly when established from seed and is a durable grass with the ability to tolerate plenty of traffic. Tall fescue is good at resisting disease and insect attack. It can withstand the hot temperatures in the Oklahoma summer and is resistant to drought, because its deep roots suck water from beneath the ground surface.


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Perennial Rye Grass

Perennial rye grass is commonly used on lawns and is quick to germinate in less than two weeks under normal conditions. Perennial rye grass has the ability to grow in areas with full sun or partial shade. Although it is a cold-season grass, perennial grass is often used to green up a lawn when an existing warm-weather grass goes dormant during the winter. The perennial rye grass then dies in the Oklahoma summer heat. Its fine texture and shades of green provide for an eye-catching lawn. Perennial rye grass is durable, provides a quick ground cover, and is good for areas with slopes and hills.



Zoysia is a warm-weather grass that does well in both shaded and sunny areas. This is a particularly good choice for Oklahoma because of its ability to handle a range of temperatures. It can survive high temperatures and is more cold-resistant than the other warm-season grasses. Zoysia turns brown during the winter, but is quick to regain its green color in the spring. This aggressive grass will overtake other grasses in the area. It is also good at growing in different kinds of soil. The thick turf zoysia forms makes it durable, resistant to weeds and able to handle a high amount of foot traffic. Zoysia is also a slow-growing grass, resulting in it not needing frequent mowing.


Creeping Red Fescue

A fast-growing grass capable of germinating in 10 days or less, creeping red fescue is a cool-season grass that grows in both shaded and sunny locations. Also known as "creeping red," it is if often mixed with bluegrass. It makes for an eye-catching lawn with leaves of a fine texture and medium to dark green color. Creeping red fescue can easily be grown from seed. Its durability is reflected in the fact its often grown in play areas, golf-course fairways, along highways and in parks. This grass can also be used to over-seed warm-season lawns, including those with Bermuda grass. Creeping red fescue is a common turf grass in transition states such as Oklahoma.


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