Growing Grass in Shade
Love your shade trees but tired of the sparse lawn and bare spots? Make this the season you eliminate the frustration of trying to grow grass in the shade and go for a permanent fix.
The lack of sunlight and competition for water makes it difficult if not impossible to grow grass under some trees. Try growing shade tolerant grass seed mixes in these areas. They contain a high percentage of fine fescue grass that is shade and drought tolerant.
If you tried this and failed then consider shade tolerant groundcovers such as hostas, Epimedium also called barrenwort, Pachysandra, deadnettle, botanically known as Lamium, and Canadian ginger. Start with a few plants to see if there is enough light for these shade tolerant plants to grow. Make sure to provide adequate moisture the first few years to get them established.
Just a bit more information: If shade tolerant groundcovers fail to grow consider mulching the soil with a 3 inch layer of shredded bark or woodchip mulch. Keep the mulch away from the trunk of the tree and extend the bed out as far as you can.