Any organic tips for shaded lawn areas?

Discussion in 'Organic Lawn Care' started by mikesturf, Apr 17, 2011.

  1. mikesturf

    mikesturf LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 793

    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.
     
    Last edited: Apr 17, 2011
  2. Kiril

    Kiril LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 18,308

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

    RigglePLC LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 12,071

    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.
     
  4. americanlawn

    americanlawn LawnSite Fanatic
    from midwest
    Posts: 5,852

    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.
     
  5. mikesturf

    mikesturf LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 793

    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.
     
  6. americanlawn

    americanlawn LawnSite Fanatic
    from midwest
    Posts: 5,852

    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.
     
  7. Kiril

    Kiril LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 18,308

    What is your cut height?
     
  8. Smallaxe

    Smallaxe LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 10,080

    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...
     
  9. mikesturf

    mikesturf LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 793

    Three inches.
     
  10. Kiril

    Kiril LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 18,308

    That is OK, higher would be better.
     

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