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Old 01-13-2010, 03:20 PM
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RigglePLC RigglePLC is offline
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Join Date: Jul 2006
Location: Grand Rapids MI
Posts: 10,744
This is really at the core--a shade problem. You need 6 hours of light to grow good grass. Chain saw and 5 minutes would solve that. If not, you are right to use a ground cover like ajuga, ivy, myrtle, pachysandra, ferns, hosta or...cotoneaster if you need something thorny to keep the dogs out. If there is a dog path along the fence periodically block their favorite route with a row of lawn chairs or a picnic table--move it every week. By all means do a soil test to see if it is partly an acid problem--correct low fert and acidity as needed. Recontour to fix the drainage. And install underground irrigation to reduce the summer burnout and thinness. Plan to seed every year with a higher quality tall fescue--like Aztec. Fescue doesn't creep--it does not heal itself well--bluegrass in the mixture will help to some extent. Where traffic is the heaviest--or mud is a problem--install concrete paving stones (under the tree if you have to.) Tilling the area under the tree will be difficult due to the roots and may damage the tree.
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