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View Full Version : Need advice for growing grass - newbie


c0ffeeman
04-13-2010, 07:07 PM
Hello, I'm new to the forum and really have no experience in planting grass. I've been doing some reading and thought it would be best to just post my question here.

I just purchased a new home in November and there are bare spots all over the yard! I'm assuming it's from all the shade but I don't really know. I want to plant grass and do whatever I need to in order to get a nice lawn going. My first mowing this year resulted in a mini-dust storm.

Any advice would be greatly appreciated. Believe me, the obvious is not so obvious to me at this point, Thanks!



This is one of two areas in the yard that need help.

http://i261.photobucket.com/albums/ii66/jp15050/DSCF1541.jpg


This is the second (and worst) part of the yard. I recently cut down 2 pine trees and am thinking of cutting down 2 more. There were a row of 6 total but now there are four remaining. This part of the yard slopes and it seems to be washing away slowly.

http://i261.photobucket.com/albums/ii66/jp15050/DSCF1543.jpg
http://i261.photobucket.com/albums/ii66/jp15050/DSCF1545.jpg

Thanks!

tombo82685
04-13-2010, 07:38 PM
Well the problem is the trees. The trees are taking the sun away from the grass and water and nutrients. To much competition for the grass from the trees. If you want to get a really nice lawn, your going to have to cut down that tree. You can try cutting some of the lower branches to allow some sun light in, but it will not totally fix the problem. If you do decide to cut some of the low branches go with a more shade tolerant grass type which are your fescues, and maybe blend a little kbg and rye in their, which may take hold on the outer edges that do get more then 4hrs of sun.

c0ffeeman
04-13-2010, 08:44 PM
If I cut a few more trees down and do what you said, plant the more shade tolerant grass, do I need to have topsoil put down? The ground is really hard.

I would like to keep as much of the trees as possible and still be able to have grass growing. I would hate to whack them down unnecessarily cause once their down, their down. :)

tombo82685
04-13-2010, 09:01 PM
If I cut a few more trees down and do what you said, plant the more shade tolerant grass, do I need to have topsoil put down? The ground is really hard.

I would like to keep as much of the trees as possible and still be able to have grass growing. I would hate to whack them down unnecessarily cause once their down, their down. :)

You can have some trees, but a lot of them wont work, nor will trees that are clustered together. Only do the shade tolerant grasses where your keeping the trees and prunning some of the lower limbs.

In terms or bringing in top soil im not sure if that would be a good idea unless you plan on breaking up the existing soil layer. If you throw top soil over the compacted soil you may have drainaige issues. Also, the grass roots may only root in the top soil and not puncture down into the compacted soil. I would try to loosen that compacted soil up to grow grass and to help with soil drainage, then maybe throw some top soil in and grade out any low areas.

c0ffeeman
04-13-2010, 10:05 PM
Thanks for the advice tombo, that makes sense. Looks like I have a bit more logging to do. I would hate to waste valuable time trying to grow grass to no avail. Thanks again.

c0ffeeman
04-14-2010, 08:27 AM
I have this grass seed that has the following mixture:

34% Integra II Perennial Ryegrass
29.5% Wind Dance 2 Perennial Ryegrass
14.5% Shadow II chewings Fescue
9.5 % Razor Edge Fescue
9.5% Ridgeline Kentucky Bluegrass

Would this be any good for the shady areas or should I look for something else? I'm thinking the percentages between the Fescues and Ryegrasses should be the other way around?

Thanks!

RigglePLC
04-14-2010, 11:15 AM
Coffee, Tombo is right. Shade is the problem. There is no problem with the soil--except there is no grass growing on it.
If you want to keep the trees, try a non-grass substitute like a ground cover. Top choices for your area: pachysandra, myrtle, ivy, euonymous, ajuga, ferns, hosta heuchara, and dozens more.
Also think about some landscaping like bark, or patio pavers with some artistic statues, bird baths, fountains, or comfortable Adarondak chairs with a table and lemonade or adult beverage of your choice.
The seed you mentioned should be fine, however be mentally prepared for it to fade out in late summer when the combination of high soil temperatures and shorter days of sun is murder on shaded grass.

c0ffeeman
04-14-2010, 05:13 PM
Thanks. I appreciate the tips.

I think I'm going to cut down a few more trees and see if that is enough to breathe some life into the lawn. Landscaping the bare spots away is a great idea especially if this doesn't work. I would rather not cut all the trees down.

Thanks again for the suggestions.

Coffee, Tombo is right. Shade is the problem. There is no problem with the soil--except there is no grass growing on it.
If you want to keep the trees, try a non-grass substitute like a ground cover. Top choices for your area: pachysandra, myrtle, ivy, euonymous, ajuga, ferns, hosta heuchara, and dozens more.
Also think about some landscaping like bark, or patio pavers with some artistic statues, bird baths, fountains, or comfortable Adarondak chairs with a table and lemonade or adult beverage of your choice.
The seed you mentioned should be fine, however be mentally prepared for it to fade out in late summer when the combination of high soil temperatures and shorter days of sun is murder on shaded grass.