Does St Augustine Grass Grow In Shade?

St. Augustine Grass grows in the shade and only needs a few hours of sunlight to grow. Throughout this article, we’ll explain how many hours it needs to grow correctly and some tips and techniques to help speed up the growth process. That way, you can get high-quality grass for your lawn and ensure that it remains in good condition. 

Does St Augustine Grass Grow In Shade?

St. Augustine grass grows well in the shade. However, you have to keep the grass free from children, pets, and other forms of traffic. If you want optimal results, water it regularly and give it adequate sunlight so the grass can grow properly. 

How Many Hours Of Sunlight Does St. Augustine Need?

On average, St. Augustine grass will take around 4 hours for it to grow properly. If the grass is in partial shade, it will take 6 hours. You can have grass such as Palmetto to enhance your lawn’s growth rate.

Shade-based grass will need a lot of fertilizer for it to make the grass grow faster. You’ll want to use less water and nitrogenous fertilizer to shade grasses to prevent fungal infections and other diseases from growing back when using fertilizer. 

If it’s under too much shade, St. Augustine grass will become thin due to a lack of food. The grass will turn yellow, and in serious scenarios, lack of enough food and sunlight will lead to dieback within St. Augustine grass. You can use potassium fertilizer to improve disease resistance for shady grass. 

How Do You Grow St. Augustine Grass in the Shade?

Give It An Adequate Amount of Shade

Just because St. Augustine grass is more shade tolerant, that doesn’t mean it can completely live in a shaded area. You also have to consider the other forms of shade: 

  • Partial Shade: Partial shade is caused by fences, trees, and bushes. These allow some sunlight to seep through the grass. St. Augustine grass can grow well once it receives 6-8 hours of partial sunlight and 4 hours of direct sunlight. 
  • Complete Shade: Complete shade is made by an object (i.e., wall or building). St Augustine grass will struggle with complete shade unless it receives 4 hours of sunlight a day. 

When exposed to heavy shade, St. Augustine grass has a tendency to die back or grow thinly. To fix this, find ways to give your St. Augustine grass an adequate amount of sunlight so that it can continue to grow. 

Provide Less  Water

Giving your St. Augustine grass too much water can have the opposite effect. Since it’s in the shade, the grass is less likely to evaporate, meaning that St. Augustine-type grasses only need a limited amount of water. 

If  any of these signs are present, then you should reduce your watering by at least 15-20 minutes:

  • Yellow grass blades
  • Soil squishes underfoot or is soggy a few hours after watering it
  • Weeds are starting to take over. For instance, chickweed likes to invade the overwatered, shady sections in the yard. If the shaded St. Augustine grass is overwatered, then it will develop diseases like the gray leaf spot.

Prevent Weeds From Crowding Your Lawn

Plenty of weeds tends to grow in the shade for lawn maintenance. Whether they are fully grown or sprouting, invasive weeds will steal sunlight and nutrients from the St. Augustine grass. If it is not checked, the weeds will crowd the grass. 

You’ll need to get a pre-emergent herbicide to stop the weeds from growing in your lawn. If the grass is filled with weeds, it will take longer to grow because it grows slower in the shade. 

Don’t Overstress Your Grass

St. Augustine grass is not good at handling traffic well. For instance, if it is under a group of trees, it will not be able to support foot traffic. Moderate foot traffic can destroy the runners and the blades, leading to the grass to die back. 

If it’s possible, you’ll want to limit your pets and children’s traffic on St. Augustine grass. Grass that’s burned by your pet’s urine will take more time to recover properly. 

Get a Gentle Fertilizer

You’ll have to get one with less potency when using fertilizers because St. Augustine grass takes longer to grow. It requires a lower amount of nitrogen in the sections of the yard that get direct sunlight. 

St. Augustine grass needs more potassium to resist fungi infection and improve disease resistance. When using fertilizer, apply it at least 4-6 times during the growing season to promote growth. Using gentle fertilizers will increase your lawn’s growth without weakening the lawn or burning grass due to nitrogen overload. 

Which St. Augustine Grass Is Best For Shade?

  • Sapphire

Sapphire grass is turf that has high shade tolerance. While comfort is a high priority, it also is a low maintenance form of grass and provides great shade. Also called Sapphire Buffalo, this grass has good cold tolerance and grows throughout Australia. 

Wear and tear isn’t an issue with Sapphire Buffalo grass because it has a good recovery rate. Because of its strong, dense growth, the grass strongly resists weeds. Plus, it has a low thatch rate, which gives you more time to enjoy the grass without doing any unnecessary maintenance. 

  • Seville

Seville is a type of grass that requires little to no maintenance. One primary benefit of the grass is that they have fine, green, and thick leaves. The thicker the leaves grow, and the better the leaves, the more luxurious your lawn will appear. 

Another benefit is its ability to tolerate shade than summer season grass. While there is no sod to prosper once the sun is hidden all the time, Seville handles it well by helping those zones that don’t get too much sunlight.

Seville is a grass that doesn’t require any delicate handling or coaxing to grow. Whether it is propagated by plugs or sod, Seville grass will grow quickly without any difficulty. Thus, Seville grass is a good choice for someone that wants to have high-quality grass with less of a hassle. 


  • Palmetto

Palmetto grass needs less mowing and watering than other forms of turfgrass. One of its distinctive traits is the dark emerald color that has its winter color. Thanks to its deep-rooted system, the Palmetto grass is drought-resistant and efficient using water. 

When it comes to mowing your lawn, it’s not a chore when using Palmetto grass. In warmer climates, it’s best to mow the lawn once every 6-7 days. You can mow your palmetto lawn once every 3-6 weeks during the winter. 

Having a proper water system after installation will aid the growth of your Palmetto grass. Start by watering the Palmetto grass 30 minutes before it’s laid out, and add 2-3cm of water so that the underlying soil of your lawn will become wet.   

  • Bitter Blue

The Bitter Bluegrass is known for its dense texture, shade tolerance, cold tolerance but is not resistant against chinch bugs. It can be difficult to weed control since it has a low atrazine tolerance.  

As its name suggests, Bitter Blue has a deep blue color. When mowing, make sure that the grass is cut to a height of 3-4 inches. The mowing frequency needs to be adjusted based on the growth rate and never cut above a third of the grass’ height when mowing. 

One of its main difficulties is there are fewer farms that produce Bitter Bluegrass. However, it has a coarse texture, which helps the grass remain sturdy during rough weather. So it’s a great form of grass to have if you want something that’s aesthetically pleasing and strong against the shade. 


To conclude, St. Augustine grass can grow in the shade as long as its growth needs are met. This means that you’ll have to give your grass water, sunlight, and enough room for it to grow correctly. By having these components, you’ll have healthy St. Augustine grass that will remain in good condition regardless of the weather.


Best St Augustine Grass For Shade In Florida

Palmetto grass is perfect for Florida’s climate. The reason why people love using it is that it is easy to use and requires maintenance. On average, you’ll only need around 3-4 hours of sunlight when growing this grass in the shade. 

In addition, Palmetto grass is a popular form of turf grass within the U.S. and has over 1 billion squ. ft sold. Why do people like Palmetto grass so much? Because it has good drought tolerance, shade tolerance, and the ability to survive under different soil conditions. 


Best St. Augustine Grass For Shade In Texas

Raleigh St. Augustine grass is great for northern and southern Texas areas. It was made in 1980 through North Carolina State University. It has a shade tolerance that is similar to the Palmetto grass in quality. 

This grass is known for its hardiness and drought tolerance with its medium texture and medium-green color. You can find this grass in central and Southern Texas locations. 

Also Read

Buffalo Grass vs. St. Augustine (Differences and Comparison)

Fescue vs St Augustine (which is better)

When Does St. Augustine Grass Go Dormant?

How to Revive St. Augustine Grass

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