Best Grass Seeds for Shade 2021

Shade can come from a neighbor’s house or from a large patch of trees. These obstructions block the sun’s rays from kissing the blades of your lush, green grass. Don’t you want to know the best grass seed for shade?

If trees are the main source of shade for your lawn, you’ve probably noticed some bare patches or sparse growth in certain areas of the lawn. The trees are hogging all of the nutrients in the soil for themselves!

But do not blame the trees. It is humans that have decided that they want grass growing up very close to the tree trunks. But really, the trees want the whole area under their dripline for themselves. This can make growing grass near a tree trunk difficult even if it does get some sunshine.

Finding the best grass seed for shade isn’t hard, but you do need to understand the difference between the types of grass. Some varieties can survive with less sun exposure and, potentially, fewer nutrients from the soil.

In our guide, we’ll show you the top grass seeds that you can use in areas of dense shade to partial shade. We will also help you understand what to look for as you shop.

Let’s get started!

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Consider This

Here are a few basic things to keep in mind before you choose a seed.

  • Foot Traffic. Some grass species can withstand heavy foot traffic while others, not so much.

Fescue grass is great for medium foot traffic, as is Kentucky Blue Grass, Perennial Ryegrass and Creeping Bent Grass, which can withstand heavy foot traffic just fine.

Not all of these are ideal for the shade but they can withstand full sun with partial shade throughout the day.

  • Your Climate. Keep in mind that some grass species are more tolerant to drought and require less maintenance than others. Make sure you double-check the label to find out the climates/zones for which it is recommended.
  • Banned Grass. Some grasses are banned in certain states due to the aggressive nature in which they grow. The climate is too ideal for them (they overpower the native flora and fauna too easily).

If you’re interested in a seed type, make sure that you can plant it in your state or geographic region.

Extra Shopping Tips

Here are a few other tips you should keep in mind as you search for the best grass for shade.

  • Amount of Shade. Grass, like most plants, really need some sunlight to thrive. It is important to consider that some areas with very little light will naturally be a very difficult place to grow nice lush grass.

Based on your yard as-is (especially if you’ve just built a new home and you haven’t yet planted anything else), keep track of the sun and shade patterns in order to help you determine the amount of shade your grass will be exposed to throughout the day.

The Main Grass Types. Of course, the right seed depends on your climate. In order to narrow down the choices, these are the top grasses for shady areas:

Fescue (hard, creeping, fine) – There are lots of varieties of Fescue and you will be able to find a blended product that was specifically made for your region.

Kentucky Bluegrass – This is a beautiful grass that will create thick lush lawns, but it needs sunshine and does not do very well in the shade.

Perennial Ryegrass – Ryegrasses are hardy and germinate and grow quickly. Be warned though that they need sunshine to continue to thrive. They are not recommended for shade.

Seed Blends – The best grass seed for shade is usually a mixture of species rather than just one.

These are great if you have quite a wide range of temperatures and seasons throughout the year. The different seed types can all make up for what the other one is lacking in order to provide you with a steady “green” all season long.

Top 3 Best Grass Seed for Shade Reviews

1. Jonathan Green Black Beauty Dense Shade Grass 

If you have a densely shaded lawn area (we talking that 75% of the day or more it is covered by shade), then this is a great mixture of seed.

Jonathan Green JOG10600 40600 Dense Shade Grass Seed, 3 lb, 3-Pound
  • 3 pound bag
  • 1,800 Square foot coverage
  • 100% superior grass seed

*Price from:  2024-03-28 at 07:54 EST


  • Surface Area It Covers: 1,800 square feet
  • Grass Type: Mix
  • Climate: Dry

Jonathan Green recommends this for lawns that tend to dry out quite a bit even if they are covered by tree shade most of the day (in this case, it is because the tree roots are taking all of the moisture before the grass has a chance to take a drink).

This grass is also naturally insect resistant thanks to the helpful fungus: Endophytes. These Endophytes produce Alkaloids (defensive compounds) that aren’t good for aboveground feeding insects – such as mosquitos – which means you won’t need to treat the lawn with harmful chemicals in order to get rid of these pests. ✔️ Let's get it NOW! 

2. Discount Lawn Care The Dirty Gardener 

If you’re looking for a single-seed mixture, this one is perfect.

Creeping Red Fescue Lawn Grass - 5 Pounds
  • Red fescue is a beautiful, very fine blade grass
  • Does well in shady areas so perfect for seeding under trees
  • Medium to dark green in color
  • Grows up to 14 inches tall and easy to establish

*Price from:  2024-03-28 at 07:54 EST


  • Surface Area It Covers: 1,000 square feet (or slightly more)
  • Grass Type: Creeping Red Fescue
  • Climate: Cool (northern regions)

This grass is great for planting under trees. It has a very fine blade and grows quite long if you don’t cut it (potentially up to 14 inches!), and being in the shade, it’s probably going to grow quickly.

It also establishes well once you plant it, so it shouldn’t take long to yield a thick, lush carpet of green.

This is definitely recommended for dense shade, so if you have too much sun exposure during certain times of day, it might burn. ✔️ I'm sold! 

3. Pennington Smart Seed Dense Shade Mix 

If you live in a dry region, a good drought-resistance grass like this will come in handy.

Currently on Sale
Pennington Smart Seed Dense Shade Grass Seed, 7 lb
  • This bag covers up to 1,750 sq. ft.
  • Uses up to 30% less water versus ordinary grass seed
  • Grass establishes quickly
  • Contains grass seed varieties that thrive in shade
  • Formulated to outperform other shade grass seed mixes

*Price from:  2024-03-28 at 07:54 EST


  • Surface Area It Covers: 8 lbs./1,000 square feet (new lawns) or 4 lbs./1,000 square feet for overseeding
  • Grass Type: Mix
  • Climate: Dry

Pennington claims that it will grow in all zones across the U.S., but it definitely handles the drought well in areas that don’t get much rain throughout the year.

This is another seed for dense shade, so if you have more sun exposure and you’re in need of a different type, be sure to check out the other great options in our table. They’re labeled in order to help make it easier for you to find the right one! ✔️ Yes! I want it!