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How do I make grass grow?

Discussion in 'Homeowner Assistance Forum' started by heatherbelle00, Jan 8, 2008.

  1. heatherbelle00

    heatherbelle00 LawnSite Member
    Posts: 4

    My back yard is full of trees so I was wondering if there is anything I can do to get some grass to grow. Would shade grass work? Is it possible to get grass to grow where it is mostly shaded? About half of the backyard has grass. One dirt spot has no trees around it, so whats the best way to get grass to grow here?
    Thanks for the help

  2. capelawncare.com

    capelawncare.com LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 8,136

    where is simpsonville? you may get a plethora of different answers depending on your location. People from Wisconson may give one answer and people from south florida may give another
  3. heatherbelle00

    heatherbelle00 LawnSite Member
    Posts: 4

    Simpsonville is in South Carolina.
  4. Marcos

    Marcos LawnSite Gold Member
    Posts: 3,720


    Some probing questions 1st :

    What kind of trees do you have mostly, do you know?

    If they are deciduous (leaf bearing) trees, are you religious about keeping the leaves off the ground? ...be honest :)

    Would you be open to a 'compromise' yard of sorts; where you have some grass in the sunnier areas and maybe shade-tolerant perennial ground covers in the rest of it ?
    Otherwise...would you be willing to pay for selective thinning of the trees' canopies to allow for better light ? ( Don't have the trees 'TOPPED')


    It may be helpful to post a few digital pics on here if you can.
  5. LawnTamer

    LawnTamer LawnSite Gold Member
    Posts: 3,988

    One other question; Do you have pine trees? Several pine trees have a natural soil sterilant which they release through the needles, it is very hard to get grass to grow under many varieties of pine trees, even if there is sufficient sunlight.
  6. Marcos

    Marcos LawnSite Gold Member
    Posts: 3,720

    True...but there are many shade-loving perennials and ornamentals that love that type of environment, including hosta, astilbe, pachysandra, azaleas and rhododendrons, just to name a few.
  7. heatherbelle00

    heatherbelle00 LawnSite Member
    Posts: 4

    We have one Pine tree but it is in the back corner of the lot so its not a bother. Yes, I have all leaf bearing trees, mostly sweet gum trees and acorn trees (sorry I don't know the real name of trees :confused:), and I want to keep up with raking the leaves but there is just so many. When should I make sure the leaves are all up? Can I wait till the winter is over? I can not afford at this time to trim the trees. I just want more grass for my kids to play on instead of dirt.
    Thanks for everyones help

  8. Marcos

    Marcos LawnSite Gold Member
    Posts: 3,720

    "Acorn trees" are oak trees.
    And if you are allowing the leaves to sit on the ground now you are probably smothering grass, if there's still grass there to smother.

    Without seeing digital pics it's hard to recommend seeding.

    Usually the typical scenario is that the seed will come up looking great initially, but the trees will gain the upper hand by mid to late summer as the thick shade gains control...

    Trees filter out wavelengths of light that are needed by turf, and if the grass doesn't get them it grows 'shallow rooted' no matter what you do.

    At some point in the near future, you're going to have to do some 'selective pruning' and / or think about converting some of your ground space over to ground covers or the like that could handle shade better.

    You say you have kids... maybe to protect your future ground cover investment, just buy some colorful 1' x 1' stepping stones and tell them if they fall off the stepping stones they will plunge to HADES !! :laugh:
    (my mom did stuff like this to protect her garden, and we obliged !!)

    At the Ohio State U field days during the last few years, surprisingly it was turf type tall fescues that ended up showing the most 'resilience and longevity' in the shade trails.
    But historically, shade blends have included things like creeping red fescue, hard fescue, and intermediate ryegrass.

    Maybe for your area, a combination of the above might work.
  9. ericlemson

    ericlemson LawnSite Member
    Posts: 173


    Being that I live near you, I recomeend the following solutions:

    1. Clear cut your trees. This is the only way to guarantee that you will not be fighting the shade.

    2. Add topsoil

    3. Plan grass seed - Bermuda will work best in full sun.

    4. If you prefer to have trees, simply replant them. I suggest seedlings though. Although they may take an extra 20 years to get to maturity,they will be stronger and look nicer.

  10. Marcos

    Marcos LawnSite Gold Member
    Posts: 3,720

    Geesh !
    A little brash, aren't we ??

    Some good recommended reading for you might be the late Dr. Suess'
    'The Lorax'.


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