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mikesturf
04-17-2011, 10:30 AM
I know its hard to grow grass in shaded areas, grass needs sunlight. I annually overseed with a red fescue blend. I also have customers trim branches, extend mulched area under tree drip line, mow high. Ground cover plants are not an option in these areas-grass is required.

My question is are there any organic items (compost tea, etc.) that you use to help grass to grow in these difficult areas.

Kiril
04-17-2011, 10:36 AM
I know its hard to grow grass in shaded areas, grass needs sunlight. I annually overseed with a red fescue blend. I also have customers trim branches and extend mulched area under tree drip line. Ground cover plants are not an option in these areas-grass is required.

My question is are there any organic items (compost tea, etc.) that you use to help grass to grow in these difficult areas.

Beyond what you are already doing, proper water management is about the only thing left.

RigglePLC
04-17-2011, 02:52 PM
Also try perennial rye--its almost as good as red fescue in shade. Also try improved tall fescue. For heavy shade--go with a garden with ferns and hosta, plus heuchara, columbine and other shade-loving flowers. Sorry there is no substitute for sunlight.
Also try to put in a fountain, birdbath or artistic decoration. It attracts the eye and distracts from that ugly bare dirt.

americanlawn
04-17-2011, 07:28 PM
Too bad ground cover is not an option for the homeowner, cuz that's what I would suggest. Vinca minor (common periwinkle) would be the answer. No pest prob's, and it does not tend to grow out into turf areas. This attractive broadleaf evergreen requires no maintenance once it's established. It's the only ground cover I would have, cuz the rest have issues.

I've always figured that even "shade-tolerent" turf needs at least 3 hours of sunlight per day. Poa trivialis is often considered a grassy weed, but if it's serious shade like you're talking about, it might be an option.

I don't know regarding organic products. Probably not a bad idea, and shady areas typically require less fertilizer compared to sunny areas.

Some folks even have "moss gardens" (especially in Oregon, etc.

Bottom line, I agree with all the above LS members. Customers who have lawns like you described often cancel lawn service because they are unhappy with results. They might "try it themselves" for a year, but they get tired of doing so. Then they "shop around" again for a different service. It's often a never ending cycle.

mikesturf
04-17-2011, 08:12 PM
I don't know regarding organic products. Probably not a bad idea, and shady areas typically require less fertilizer compared to sunny areas.

Bottom line, I agree with all the above LS members. Customers who have lawns like you described often cancel lawn service because they are unhappy with results. They might "try it themselves" for a year, but they get tired of doing so. Then they "shop around" again for a different service. It's often a never ending cycle.[/QUOTE]

Yeah, I've mentioned you can't fight Mother Nature to these people. Tried to explain your trees are growing every year, requiring more water/nutrients, all making it harder for grass to grow. I was just wondering if anyone had any ideas. Maybe 10-10-10 fertilizer, I don't know, just fishing for ideas.

americanlawn
04-17-2011, 08:25 PM
I hear ya Mike - We have a few shady lawns that do okay, but they have irrigation systems. When it rains, the trees shed the water out to the "dripline" instead of allowing the water underneath the trees. But these are lawns with large trees that have been pruned up high. It's a tough deal. Usually it's either grass or trees. I don't know of any product that can address this. If I did, I'd probably be a multi-millionare.

Kiril
04-17-2011, 11:01 PM
I don't know, just fishing for ideas.

What is your cut height?

Smallaxe
04-18-2011, 06:35 AM
I would say that people who water too much definately kill grass in the shade, unless they are on sand w/out any topsoil at all. Of course N application is strictly 'low maintenance' as in fall application only... Mulch mowing is the only way to build an eco-system that supports the grass vs. the trees...

Our lakes in Wisco are all surrounded with old and tall trees, many oak and pine mixed together... The only sun is around the shoreline... Most people leave it natural and don't even pick up the leaves... those that want grass always believe more is better and they are always bagging to pick up debri from the forest in their back yard...

Of course one needs to be diligent in fall cleanup and never leave the lawn covered with anything for 2 weeks at a time, less if it rains...

mikesturf
04-18-2011, 09:56 AM
What is your cut height?

Three inches.

Kiril
04-18-2011, 10:36 AM
Three inches.

That is OK, higher would be better.

ChiTownAmateur
04-19-2011, 03:15 PM
Kiril,

What cut height do you suggest if more than 3?

Kiril
04-20-2011, 10:53 AM
Kiril,

What cut height do you suggest if more than 3?

As high as your mower will go, or as high as the client is willing to live with and it still looks like turf.

ChiTownAmateur
04-20-2011, 01:36 PM
Thanks Kiril.

Hineline
04-25-2011, 07:34 PM
I would also add that the most important fertilizations are when the leaves are off in the fall and early spring. You are just trying to store carbo's at this time. Raise the mower and use lightweight mowing equipment in the heavy shade.

dgw
04-25-2011, 08:19 PM
rtf fescue

Marcos
04-26-2011, 01:29 AM
I don't know, just fishing for ideas.

One important thing to take into consideration for heavily shaded areas is that roots of 'shade-tolerant' turf & roots of trees typically share a lot of the same soil. So thus, I recommend that soil in heavily shaded zones be treated as if it were a type of delicate, expensive infrastructure.

When introducing any organic matter, whether it be shade or sun, utilize physical core aeration as a means of establishing 'vertical conduits' for applied O.M. to successfully interact with existing soil. For heavily shaded areas, spoon-feed finished compost by literally dusting a layer over 2 to 3 times / year. An alternative to compost is the same regimen....2 to 3X year light spoon-feedings / season, with relatively high K alfalfa meal.

In my experiences it is absolutely key that soil moisture conditions for coring are absolutely PERFECT. Severe damage may result to feeder roots during a 'sloppy' shade-area aeration. Conversely, any aeration performed in drought-like conditions does little actual aeration & potentially a lotta destruction to the turf itself.