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rcmmrc
05-28-2003, 10:51 AM
I moved into my home four years ago. The previous owners had lived there for about ten years and had done NOTHING with the lawn (besides the occasional mow). The front yard faces south and was 50% weeds-50% unidentifiable grass. It was green but that was about it. I’ve managed to make it very presentable with a lot of persistence and hard work.
Here is the problem. The back yard faces north and receives very little sun. There were three very large un-manicured maple trees. The before mentioned owners didn’t believe in raking or any yard care.
I have installed a large patio in the area that never sees the sun. I have trimmed back the maples to allow more sun to reach the ground. The soil is in decent shape but is very compacted. My questions are—Should I roto-till the existing wasteland or aerate it? The area is rather large, 120 X 160. What kind of grass would you guys (or gals) suggest?

LawnLad
05-28-2003, 11:09 AM
If it's level you might try aerating it a couple of times and raking over the area to bust up the plugs a little. Seed with rye/fescue as they are more shade tolerant than bluegrass. Only problem is that they are bunch type grasses and don't spread. So when they start to die off due to lack of sunlight you'll need to keep reseeding.

Nature of the beast. If you're going to try and get grass to exist in the shade where it does not naturally grow you'll have to be prepared to spot/over seed regularly.

Also - raise your mower height to get as much leaf blade as possible to increase photosynthesis. Skip a cut or two or three where you can to let more leaf blade grow. Reduce the amount of fertilizer you apply in the shade relative to sunny areas. And water as much as you can since the grass will have a weak root system. Aerating is good too to develop a better root system.

Green Pastures
05-28-2003, 12:20 PM
Aerate, top-dress and over-seed with an organic compost, possibly several times.

Use a shade mix grass.