Q&A: lawn fails to thrive

Horticultural advice from the experts at the RHS
Question: Our lawn in W9 is in the shade. Much of the time it gets neither sun nor shade. At the same time, when heavy rain gets through, it tends to become waterlogged. As a result, half the lawn fails to thrive. What grass (other than artificial) might work over this area?
Malcolm Hurlston

Answer: The good news is that occasional waterlogging can be improved by using a machine called a hollow tiner. This can be hired and removes plugs of soil which you can fill with washed sand. A good lawn maintenance programme can also aid the rescue plan. The bad news is that grass needs at least 4 to 6 hours of full sun each day or an entire day of filtered light to create a good lawn surface. If you can reduce the amount of shade by pruning any overhanging trees, this would help, but shade can be created by buildings. If you choose to try again with growing grass in shade, choose a mix formulated for the purpose. This is likely to contain a good proportion of ‘bent’ grasses. For a shade tolerant alternative, try low growing groundcover such as Leptinella squalida.

Send your questions for the RHS to: gardenproblems@standard.co.uk.

Only a few questions per month can be answered. For further advice on handling problems in your garden, visit www.rhs.org.uk/advice/index.asp.

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