We all need sunlight to survive and our South East Queensland lawns are no different. Regardless of the variety of lawn you have, sunlight is essential to its very survival.
Direct sunlight will begin the process of photosynthesis in your lawn plants. Photosynthesis is vital as it turns the nutrients in the soil into carbohydrates that the grass plants are able to consume. If the process doesn’t work as it should, then the plants will essentially starve to death. This is the reason that lawn in shaded areas grows at a much slower rate.
The amount of sunlight required by your lawn is determined by their variety and shade tolerance level. Kikuyu, Couch, Queensland Blue, Zoysia and Fescue are not particularly tolerant of shade and require large amounts of direct sunlight in order to thrive. Varieties that are shade tolerant, such as “Sir Walter” Soft Leaf Buffalo and Broad Leaf carpet grass, will prosper with less direct sunlight per day and more shade.
If your lawn appears to be struggling, just have a look around and up. Overhanging tree branches and shrubs will limit the amount of sunlight that reaches the lawn, so it might be time to have a tidy up around the yard.
Permanent or larger amounts of daily shade caused by structures, such as buildings and sheds, may require a more proactive approach. This area may require the installation of a different product, like bark or pebbles, a variety of lawn more suited to the lack of sunlight like, “Sir Walter” Soft Leaf Buffalo or even a change of usage; that may be the perfect spot for a shade tolerant garden bed.
Fallen leaves and grass cuttings will also stop sunlight reaching the leaves of the plants, so try to get into the habit of using a mower catcher and raking up leaves as they fall.