Does Bermuda grass grow in shade?

If you’re looking for grass that can tolerate some shade, Bermuda grass is a good option. Bermuda grass sunlight requirements vary depending on the variety, but most varieties do well in direct sunlight.

However, if your Bermuda grass isn’t getting enough sunlight, you may start to see signs of distress.

In this article, we will discuss the effects of shade on Bermuda grass and some shade-resistant Bermuda grass varieties. We will also look at why it’s hard to grow grass in shade and some alternative options.

Half on bermuda grass growing in shade
A patch of Bermuda grass with shade

Does Bermuda grass lawn need direct sunlight?

It is hard to answer the question “Does Bermuda grass grow in shade?” There’s a common misconception that Bermuda grass can’t grow in shade. This isn’t true – Bermuda grass is actually shade-tolerant grass! However, it will perform better and look healthier when it receives direct sunlight.

Bermuda grass is warm-season grass, which means it thrives in direct sunlight. However, there are someBermuda grass varieties that are more shade tolerant than others. I

f you live in an area with hot summers and mild winters, Bermuda grass is a good option for your lawn. Bermuda grass is also drought-tolerant, so it’s a good choice for areas that don’t receive much rainfall.

How many hours of direct sunlight does Bermuda grass need?

Bermuda isn’t very tolerant to shade. It needs at least 4-6 hours of full sunlight each day in order for its roots and shoots be healthy enough so it won’t suffer any consequences such as thinning leaves or slower growth rates (which might make them more susceptible). In contrast, if you have tall trees blocking the sun but plenty else around then consider using another type of lighter colored turf species that does well under low light exposure – like maidenhair fescue.

Signs your Bermuda grass isn’t getting enough sunlight

While Bermuda grass can tolerate some shade, it’s important to make sure it receives enough direct sunlight. If your Bermuda grass isn’t getting enough sunlight, you may start to see signs of distress. The first sign that your Bermuda grass isn’t getting enough sunlight is that the grass will start to turn a pale green or yellow color. If you see this happening, make sure to move your Bermuda grass to an area that receives more direct sunlight.

Here are some other sights of Bermuda grass lawn not getting enough sunlight:

  • Abnormally elongated stems
  • Thin leaves
  • Slower growth rates
  • Reduced tolerance to disease

Bermuda grass lawns develop elongated leaves, stems, and internodes in low light, usually, if there is less than 60 percent of full sunlight.

Because the grass experiences less photosynthesis, your lawn will begin to thin out due to reduced lateral growth. This means your lawn will have more room for weeds like crabgrass, quackgrass, and dandelions to flourish if it has scant turf.

Turf diseases such as fungal infections, moss, root difficulties, and other issues would most likely affect shaded regions of a Bermuda grass lawn. The explanation for this is that dew stays on the leaves for longer periods of time in regions with less sunlight exposure.

Why Is It Difficult to Grow Grass in the Shade?

To survive, all plants require light. If you recall your fifth-grade science lesson, I’m sure your teacher discussed photosynthesis with you. It’s the process by which plants absorb light energy from the sun and convert it to sugars and carbohydrates using the building blocks of atoms and molecules in their environment. All life is powered by the energy they generate, which they convert from sunlight into sugars and carbs.

You’re putting any plant on a diet when you place it in the shade. You can put a lot of fertilizer out there, but if the plant can’t get enough light, it won’t be able to feed. It can’t use photosynthesis to transform that into energy.

One thing to keep in mind about turfgrasses is that they come from Savannah or Plains habitats. We don’t see turfgrass plants very often in woodland settings. They aren’t native to that shadow ecology, therefore we must recognize that if we place a plant in a shaded area, we are putting it into an ecosystem where it isn’t truly at ease.

Types of shade

Building Shade

One comes from buildings, while the other comes from trees. Building shade is fascinating since it does not move yet can be extremely stable. For example, turfgrass on the front side of a building on the north side of a structure could be an issue later in the fall. You should look around your yard or lawn to see what kind of angles I have. What does the sun look like on June 21st, when it is at its highest point, and throughout the rest of the year? If you discover that’s the case, you’ll have a good notion of how well it’ll do in a specific area.

Tree shade

Trees are the other big part of shade in a garden, and we need to talk about not all trees being created equal. For instance, there is the pine tree which has almost no severity at all when it comes down towards shading plants; however, magnolias have thick leaf canopies that make lighting difficult for growth so they’re generally considered bad candidates if you want grass or any type vegetation growing underneath them

Grass under tree shade
Tree throwing shade on grass in a park

How to grow Bermuda grass in shaded areas

If you’re having trouble growing Bermuda grass in a shady area, try moving some of the plants or trees that are blocking the sun. You may also need to fertilize and water your lawn more frequently if it’s in a shaded area.

If you have Bermuda grass that isn’t receiving enough sunlight, there are a few things you can do to improve the situation.

One option is to thin out trees and shrubs to improve sunlight penetration so that more light can reach the Bermuda grass. This way your lawn at least won’t have to deal with an especially dense shade.

Another option is to aerate the soil around the Bermuda grass so that it can receive more sunlight. If you have Bermuda grass that is struggling in shade, these tips should help it regain its health.

To make sure your lawn gets the best possible care, it’s important to measure how much sunlight hits each area. If there are trees on or near your property that might be lowering this amount then remove them from direct view and let light pass through more easily by reducing their height with landscaping techniques like mulching underbrush beneath existing shade-loving species such as mosses instead of grasses so they’re less likely pests will thrive in too high a temperature range without proper balance between daytime warmth + evening coolness.

Grass growing in shade near a tree
The big shaded area under a tree

Another way to help a warm season grass grow in shade is to reduce foot traffic in that area. The best way to reduce traffic on your shade-grown grass is by installing an underlayment. This will help keep the underside of it cool, which helps prevent waterlogging and encourages deeper root growth in those hardy plants that can tolerate high levels of illumination like Bermuda.

Shade tolerant varieties of bermuda grass

There are some bermuda grass varieties that are more shade tolerant than others. If you’re looking for a bermuda grass variety that can tolerate some shade, consider one of these options:

  • Common bermuda grass (Cynodon dactylon)
  • Hybrid bermuda grass (Cynodon x hybrids)
  • Tifway 419 bermuda grass (Cynodon transvaalensis ‘Tiger’)
  • El Toro zoysia (Zoysia matrella)
  • Celebration bermuda grass

Alternatives to bermuda grass

If you’re looking for a grass that can tolerate more shade, there are some other turf grasses that could be used as alternative options to bermuda grass.

One alternative is zoysia grass. Zoysia grass is one of the warm-season grasses that is more shade tolerant than bermuda grass. If you have an area of your lawn that doesn’t receive much direct sunlight, zoysia grass is a good option to consider.

Another alternative is fescue. Fescue is a cool-season grass that can tolerate shady conditions better than bermuda grass. It can thrive with only 4 hours of dappled sunlight. If you live in an area with hot summers and mild winters, bermuda grass may not be the best option for your lawn. In this case, fescue would be a better choice.

You can also consider one of these shade-resistant grasses:

  • Fescue (Festuca spp.)
  • Bluegrass (Poa pratensis)
  • Ryegrass (Lolium spp.)
  • Bentgrass (Agrostis palustris)
  • Zoysia grass
  • St. Augustine grass
Bermuda grass in shade
Bermuda grass growing in partial shade


While bermuda grass is a good option for an area that receives some shade, it’s important to make sure it receives enough direct sunlight. If your bermuda grass isn’t getting enough sunlight, you may start to see signs of distress. In this arcticle, we discussed the effects of shade on bermuda grass and some shade-resistant bermuda grass varieties. We also looked at why it’s hard to grow grass in shade and some alternative options. We hope this arcticle helped you find out how much shade is best for bermuda grass and what our tips will help you achieve a healthy lawn.

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