Overseeding Shaded Lawns

The following question was sent to the P&PDL diagnosticians here at Purdue University:

Question: All of our lawn is shaded, and thin. To make it thicker and more lush, I would like to overseed it, but it's almost summer. When is the best time, if I live in north eastern Indiana? Will I need to water it several times a day since we just had some rainy weather? What is a really good shade grass seed? The back yard is thin enough that it is hard to tell where I need to mow.

Answer: Unfortunately, now is not a good time to seed your lawn. You'll have to irrigate constantly, plus summer diseases and weeds will cause problems for you. You are much better to wait until early fall or early spring. Because your lawn is very shaded, it may be difficult to produce an acceptable stand of grass. If there is no traffic on the area, you might consider a shade tolerant ornamental. If you still would like to use a grass, a fine- leaf fescue would be your best bet. A red, chewings, or fine fescue blend would work well. 

-Zac Reicher​