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Having trouble Growing Grass

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by VineYard Landscaping, May 27, 2007.

  1. VineYard Landscaping

    VineYard Landscaping LawnSite Member
    Posts: 13

    My father in law's house has two large oak trees in the front yard and they cannot keep grass alive near the tree. The house is located in south Alabama so it gets pretty hot down here. The ground around the trees are elevated a couple of feet. He said they used to have very good grass but it slowely died and since then they have not been able to get any to grow. The yard gets almost no sun, except for what leaks through the limbs of the trees. Does anyone have any recomendations on the type of grass or methods to get the grass to grow. Thanks in advance for any help on this.

    Also they would rather keep the trees and the shade rather than cut them down and grow grass. So cutting them down is not an option.

  2. tacoma200

    tacoma200 LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 5,426

    It's too dry there now to seed I would think unless it's irrigated. Those trees probably take up a lot of the moisture in the soil. I'm FAR from an expert especially in that climate. But I would start by having the soil analyzed and getting it in good shape with the proper ph, etc. Then I would resow it and make sure it gets plenty of water. Sew with a grass seed that is made for the climate, shade tolerance, and other issues your dealing with. I would say you fighting a loosing battle till the drought is over unless you irrigate or something. I admit I don't know a lot about this, especially for your area so I'm sure someone will correct me here. You may need to trim the trees enough to let a few hours of sunlight in each day.
  3. rodfather

    rodfather LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 9,501

    Tree roots are gonna take up alot of any rainfall that hits the ground. You definately need to seed with a good shade mix, some blends of fescue grow very well in heavily shaded ares. If grass doesn't take, consider a groundcover like pacysandra or myrtle.
  4. David C.

    David C. LawnSite Member
    Posts: 246

    Try Creeping Red Fescue---seeds cannot found at retail places like Wally-World but can be easily obtained at professional seed store. It'll green up and stay under any Oak tree. Stays green in Summer and in Winter. I live in Central Alabama----Talladega---my Father-in-law has it under his White Oak trees. Try it----what have you got to loose????
  5. rodfather

    rodfather LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 9,501

    A great choice..a thin blade that can get extremely dark green if cared for with the right nutrients.
  6. VineYard Landscaping

    VineYard Landscaping LawnSite Member
    Posts: 13

    Thanks for the suggestions and thanks David for the Creeping Red Fescue tip. We don't have anything to lose so I think that is where we will start. I'll call a couple of places I use this week and find out who has some seed. I'll let you know how it turns out.
  7. txgrassguy

    txgrassguy LawnSite Gold Member
    Posts: 3,083

    Texas A&M has released a new varietal type of St Augustine known as Ameri-shade.
    Developed especially for more densely shaded areas like this.
    Aerify aggressively, put down a good starter fert, sod then run a sprinkler out there and watch it grow.
  8. tacoma200

    tacoma200 LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 5,426

    Red creeping is what they recommend here but the trees seem to starve it for moisture. Still may need a good watering in dry weather. I have to baby the red creeping fescue during dry spells. Just my personal observation on my own lawn (or lack of). I live in a forest so growing grass is extremely difficult on the north side of the home.
  9. patterson

    patterson LawnSite Member
    Posts: 54

    First off, whoever said aerify first is giving you good advice. Even from the picture it looks hard as rock.

    After preparing the seed bed, my favorite shade grass is by far Turf-Type Tall Fescue. Has a dark green color, a comparable blade structure to bluegrass, and is extremely drought resistant. Creeping red fescue is a good shade choice, but I've found it delicate and easily damaged. The turf-type is my go to grass for areas where nothing else wants to grow and it's not let me down yet.
  10. mow2nd

    mow2nd LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 603

    grass just doesnt do well in that much shade, just put down some pine needles or mulch it,

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