Dallas, Texas endures hot summers and cool winters with the occasional cold snap. Your front or back lawns may have some trees in order to provide some relief from the sun, which can continue to swelter well into the fall. Not all grasses will grow in full shade, however, so it is best to keep in this in mind when choosing a variety to re-turf your lawn.
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Available only in plugs or pallet, St. Augustine is the best grass to plant in areas with full shade. The grass is aggressive and grows quickly. The blades are wide and the color is a rich, deep green. St. Augustine does require frequent watering, especially during the summer months. This can be problematic when water rationing occurs during a drought, as the grass can turn brown. While it does require intensive maintenance, be sure not to overwater. As much as drought can damage it, standing water can have a negative effect on it, as well. St. Augustine is susceptible to chinch bugs, brown patch, and Take-All Root Rot. It also performs well in sunny areas. St. Augustine does not tolerate repeated traffic well.
Zoysia is the second-best alternative to shade-tolerant grasses for the Dallas area. While very slow-growing, it is shade tolerant, especially in the southern climate of Dallas. It requires intensive maintenance watering to establish, but once it takes root, it is hardy and seldom needs mowing. You may purchase Zoysia in seed or plug form, although it is easier to establish from the plugs. It is a creeping grass, grows low to the ground and chokes out weeds and other unwanted grasses. It is tolerant of high traffic and does not attract much disease or insect damage, making it ideal for golf courses, parks or cemeteries. Varieties of the grass include Manila, Compadre and Zenith Zoysia.
Tall fescue prefers cooler weather and does well in shade. It does not perform well in full sun and can become brown from overexposure. Some homeowners use fescue to overseed warm weather grass in order to maintain a green lawn throughout the year. It is also the grass most tolerant of poor soil conditions but grows best in soils with a pH of 5.5 to 6.5. According to the Outside Pride website, tall fescue is a popular lawn choice in Dallas. It requires extensive irrigation during the summer months. Fine fescue is another variety and also performs well in cool weather and shady conditions in the Dallas area.
Centipede grass does not perform as well under total shade, but does well in filtered light. If your home has several oak trees in the yard, refrain from planting centipede grass. On the other hand, if you have tall pines, which allow some filtering, centipede grass will perform well. It is adapted to sandy, acidic soils, and soils with low fertility. Centipede grass is a creeping variety, and grows low to the ground. If your centipede lawn is healthy, you may only need to fertilize it once per year. Over-fertilizing can lead to disease and insect damage.