ABSTRACT In a pot experiment, clonal ramets of Cynodon dactylon, a stolon herbaceous plant, were treated with heterogeneous lighting. Proximal ramets (elder ramets) were subjected to shade stress at three different degrees, and stolons between proximal and distal ramets of each pair were treated in a connected or severed manner. Results showed that in moderate shade stress, the number of ramets and leaves, biomass, net photosynthetic rate (Pn), maximum quantum yield (Fv/Fm), effective quantum yield of PSII (ФPSII), and soil and plant analysis development values (SPAD) of proximal ramets were significantly reduced, regardless of whether stolons were kept intact or severed. However, the growth of distal ramets was not significantly influenced, and keeping the stolons intact also did not bring apparent benefits for the whole clonal fragments. These results show that clonal integration does not help alleviate the shade stress suffered by proximal ramets and the costs of distal ramets and does not significantly influence the whole clonal fragments. The possible reasons are that distal ramets may be at the cost of metabolism for resource transportation when the proximal ramets suffer from shade stress; thus, clonal integration is not favorable.