planting grass in the shady backyard

Hi all! I would like to plant grass in our back yard that has several trees. It gets some sun, but not much, it's usually shady during the day. I would like your expert advice on the following issues:
1. When to plant grass? Note: According to city ordinance, I MUST plant grass between now and May 15, which leaves me a little over a month. I don't know if it's the best time for planting or not but I have no choice. So I wonder if it's wrong time to plant, what will the consequences be (i.e. will the grass grow this summer, will I have to use some special care, etc.)?
2. What type of grass should I plant that grows best in the shade? Should I use seeds or "roll-out grass"?
3. What are the tips for caring for the newly planted grass? Should I buy a sprinkler system? How often do I need to fertilize it?
I live in St. Louis, MO. Thanks for all responses!
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In addition to what info you get here, you should also contact your state's cooperative extension service. You can find it via a google search using the words: missouri cooperative extension service
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On Apr 3, 2:31 am, dingodog snipped-for-privacy@yahoo.com wrote:

I think that you are in for a world of disappointment. Growing grass under trees where it gets little or no sun is not likely to give you good results even if you use shade-tolerant grasses. I don't know the climate of St Louis but if you are in an area subject to heavy frost or snow in the winter your grass will be struggling that much harder. Aside from shading the grass trees often steal all the water and nutrients too.
Unless you need it to provide a playing area for sports or for small children grass is a highly over rated ground cover that is very resource intensive. I would be looking for alternatives despite what the authorities say. Surely a living ground cover that suits your climate and situation or a well made non-living material (eg pavers) is better for the amenity of the area than a dust bowl / mud puddle. If they complain tell them to make it grow in shade by legislation.

Select a specifically shade tolerant variety if you must.
David
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Grass does not grow well if at all in the shade. Look for shade loving ground covers and as Joe said ask you Extension Agent.
--
Travis in Shoreline Washington


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I'm in upstate NY, and under two 25' high bronze-leaf maples in my yard, there's some kind of grass growing luxuriantly. In addition to the shade from these two, the neighbor's sycamore adds more shade, so there's only direct sun for maybe 2 hours a day. I didn't seed it - I just moved into the house two years ago, so I have no idea what variety it is. But it *is* possible to grow decent grass in a certain level of shade.
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I've never had an issue with growing grass in the shaded areas of my lawn. I just follow the same routine yearly and it works out fine. I will say it's not that much work as my gardens take up the majority of the room and the grass is a minority. Personally I'd just rather eradicate the lawn and do all garden ;)
Michael
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HELP THE TREE!
Keep the turf away from your trees. Why see article. http://www.treedictionary.com/DICT2003/shigo/RHIZO.html Properly mulch your trees - see here: http://home.ccil.org/~treeman/sub3.html
Thus turf will reduce the vitality of your trees.
Sincerely, John A. Keslick, Jr. Arborist http://home.ccil.org/~treeman and www.treedictionary.com Beware of so-called tree experts who do not understand tree biology. Storms, fires, floods, earthquakes, and volcanic eruptions keep reminding us that we are not the boss.

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Some sun but not much leaves you with fescues if you're going to stick to true grasses. You've got a lot more latitude if you choose another groundcover. See what the code actually says.
http://agebb.missouri.edu/hort/meg/archives/v11n8/meg1.htm http://extension.missouri.edu/explore/agguides/hort/g06725.htm http://extension.missouri.edu/explore/agguides/hort/g06835.htm
Fall is actually the best time to plant grass, either seed or sod. How wierd do they get? I'd be inclined to toss out some cheap covercrop like buckwheat now, plead crop failure, and replant with what you actually want in the fall. There's a fair chance you'll be replanting then anyhow if you're not meticulous in watering.
Yes, you'll need a sprinkler of some sort, either for seed or sod. If you want to put in a sprinkler system, you won't have to drag around hose and sprinklers every day or two until the grass is established.

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dingodog snipped-for-privacy@yahoo.com

I live in St. Louis, MO. Use a good shady mix seed. Ordinarily a shady mix seed requires about 15% sunshine during the day. I live in the Webster/Kirkwood area and it's all trees.
Here is what works for me:
Mow the lawn first. If overseeding scratch up areas to be seeded. If the spot is in a low spot, scratch in some top soil to bring the spot up. Put down starter fertilizer and then the seed. Water but not enough that puddles form. Water twice daily until germination and then at least once or twice weekly until established. Do not mow the first time until the seedlings are at least 3 inches tall. Do not fertilize again until after the 4th mowing. Do not use weed control until after the 4th mowing.
Best seed times are in the spring, about now and then again in the fall. Towards the end of September. I used the shady mix from Biener Hardware. I use Scott's starter fertilizer but Fertilome is okay too. Feel free to email me just take "foodie" out of the address.
Michael
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