Discussion in 'Pesticide & Herbicide Application' started by skurkp, Jun 30, 2005.

  1. skurkp

    skurkp LawnSite Member
    Posts: 248

    I have two trees in my front yard, one is a pine and the other is an oak. So I have alot of shade and little sun. How do I get the grass to grow thicker and strong?
  2. Ric

    Ric LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 11,956

    Cut down the trees
  3. GreenUtah

    GreenUtah LawnSite Senior Member
    from SLC, UT
    Posts: 866

    lol..not...plant shade tolerant varieties of the north, that's the job of fine fescue, down in the heart of me out warm season gurus! Or better yet, kill the lawn and fill it with groundcovers and shrubs! Whatcha really doing with that grass anyway?!
  4. sheshovel

    sheshovel LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 5,112

    Grass is not suitable under pines and oaks.You won't get it to grow thick and strong no matter what kind you use shade variety or not.Reason being that the tree roots are too much competition for the little grass roots and after a year or so,they will loose the race,and if the trees are used to dry conditions,the amount of water grass takes could hurt the trees.Pines like dry conditions in summer.
  5. Ric

    Ric LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 11,956


    You are right, but not for all the same reasons you give. In a relationship of Trees and and Grass in nature. They don't grow together. We have prairies or forests. Grass steals fertilizer or nutrients from Trees, While Trees steal water and Light from Grass. It is the light issue that is the big factor since the others can be dealt with. In Fact The light issue can also be dealt with some what also. DAYLIGHTING Trees is a common term to mean thinning the trees to allow more air flow and Sunlight. Raising the canopy can also increase light. Of the warm season turfs St Augustine has been found to express it self better in a 30% shade condition. The Bitter Blue Culivar of St Augustine which was first brought to this country from Brazil in the 1930, is the most shade tolerant culivar of all St Augustine(Stenotaphrum secundatum) varieties. Bitter Blue also has the best Cold tolerant of the St Augustine turfs.

    When it comes to trees on Golf Course, A greens keeper's favorite tool is a Chain Saw. Cut them down or plant a shade loving ground cover under them. The word Philoderdron means Love of Trees.
  6. Chris Wagner

    Chris Wagner LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 252

    Even a nice mulch bed will bring out the turf from the base of tree. The trees & grass will still compete for nutrients and water... especially because the roots likely extend to the dripline of the tree and beyond.

    Almost all sod in northern climates is Kentucky Bluegrass. So, sodding isn't likely your best option. However, it will last a season and look very nice if you keep it somewhat moist. But the roots won't take well in the shade using KBG sod, causing you to have a recurring problem.

    You might also check soil PH. Pines can often turn the PH somewhat acidic... also their soil preference (generally speaking).
  7. quiet

    quiet LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 720

    I hate to sound like a jerk, but most of your info is of no value whatsoever. Pardon me, but I sometimes get my nose a little bent outta shape when Northern turfgrass people offer advice on problems in the Southland. Our southern turfgrasses and problems associated with them are altogether different.

    Sodding with KBG? That's not an option that can be considered in Houston - sun or shade, even if we could get KBG in TX. We'd have to import KBG from some place North of I-40 . . . that's about 500 miles from Houston. There's a reason they don't grow or sell KBG down here. Temps here average 90 + from May to Oct.

    But you do point out something very important: testing the soil. Take it to your county extension or send it to TX A&M for analysis, and they can give you a good starting point.

    For those of you outside of TX, Houston isn't anything at all like the high desert of TX you see in the John Wayne movies. Houston is lush, humid, almost tropical with close to 50" of rain/year. St. Augustine grows very well there in sun or shade. Zoysia varieties do well in shade also.

    Maybe your .08" of rain this June is causing the lawn to struggle. St. Aug needs lots of water. What kind of grass do you have now that's struggling? Start with the soil, and have you watered and fertilized properly and adequately? St. A needs around 4 lbs of N/1000 sf each year. And have you ruled out any fungus problems?
  8. Chris Wagner

    Chris Wagner LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 252

    No prob... maybe someone in the Northern climate will find the information useful.

    Best of luck to you!
  9. sheshovel

    sheshovel LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 5,112

    Quiet,No matter what kind of grass it is it will always struggle under trees and need babysitting constantly,even with that,when grass roots and tree roots compete for food and water you can bet on the tree roots coming out the winner every time.I don't care what part of the country you live in.
  10. topsites

    topsites LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 21,653

    I agree, trees and grass just doesn't happen, I see it all the time and folks kill themselves trying to grow grass but the tree is ALWAYS the winner. First, the shade but mostly, the tree consumes a TON of water.

    Maybe cut down a few of the trees, thin it out some ... But that can get expensive and if you do it yourself, could be risky (yes, it can kill you, heh).

    The other suggestion is cool about killing the grass except I wouldn't even bother thou I might plant some that vine we got all around here, dang what is that stuff called, it's all got leaves and grows nicely all along the ground. It's a really tough vine, you can't hardly kill it with anything except double-strength round-up... Add some ferns and plants and turn it into more of a garden, perhaps...
    Only maintenance is you gotta spray it with Round-up OR weed-eat vigorously to keep it off the walkways and the house and use some them garden shears to cut it off the trees every once in a bit.

    chit what is that stuff called again? might not work in TX but it should, works wonders in VA. well it's a dark-green, leafy vine that grows (and spreads) along the ground but has no problem climbing. You can grow entire beds of the stuff, some folk around here have 1/2 their yard covered in it.

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