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Bare spots and exposed roots everywhere?

Discussion in 'Turf Renovation' started by the lawnscaper, Jan 12, 2009.

  1. the lawnscaper

    the lawnscaper LawnSite Member
    Messages: 16

    Hello...have a question regarding a customer that wants to rehab his front lawn. Has many bare spots and alot of exposed roots from two big trees. I have never done a rehab yet. Should I cover the roots with top soil and then seed to fill in the bare areas?? Any suggestions would be appreciated. This is my second year in the business. Thanks in advance!
  2. Barefoot James

    Barefoot James LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 984

    Post some pics - we don't have enough information - also what type of trees are they?
  3. White Gardens

    White Gardens LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 6,776

    Shooting from the hip with no pics, I would say turn the area into a shade garden.

    Any tree will eventually ruin any renovation in a shirt period of time.

    Case in point... I had a small area that was once a parking spot underneath a sugar maple. Once I removed the rock, I tilled the area, added soil and had about 6 inches of dirt with no tree roots.

    I planted grass, grew great the whole season until the fall. I took a spade and dug up an area, and it was chocked with tree roots after 1 season.
  4. Barefoot James

    Barefoot James LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 984

    I would agree with no pics or info about how dense the canopy is - a great option would be to plant native ferns, some hostas and impatients. The turf would probably not do well as it requires bacterial to fungus ratio of 1 to 1 and the tree likes fungus - plus lack of light would not help the grass at all.
  5. Smallaxe

    Smallaxe LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 10,082

    Maples love fresh loose soil with plenty of water. But you don't have to get too far from the stump to have a good establishment of grass. In fact we are still mowing right up to the trunk of several maples that are already 30' x 30' canopy. We need to cover the roots now and I am trying to talk the HO into a shade garden planting.

    I suppose we could lay some transplanted sod there.
  6. Barefoot James

    Barefoot James LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 984

    It would die - for sure 100% chance of death.
  7. Smallaxe

    Smallaxe LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 10,082

    What would die for sure?
  8. Barefoot James

    Barefoot James LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 984

    The sod (usually grown in full sun) would die if just heaped on top of tree roots, under a thick canopy of tree shade. Maybe ou a little ways like 6 to 8 ft from the trunk where it can root into soil and get some sun. the grass you hve up against trunks probably grew there from seed and that would be the only grass (from seed) that usually has a chance of growing under shady trees - try a shade variety - creeping fescue or a chewings. The best option.
  9. Smallaxe

    Smallaxe LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 10,082

    Yes I pretty much agree. We need to cover the roots enough so the mower isn't hitting them and that will bury the existing grass.

    I would not bother with sod in that area either; and I too, am a fan of the creeping red fescue, for this area.

    However the best option of all would be some shady perennial planting that will not interfere with the tree roots and not mow that close to the tree at all. Perhaps the mulch alone will be acceptable to them.
  10. PSUturf

    PSUturf LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 663

    If you add soil only install enough to just barely cover the roots. Only a couple inches of extra soil over the roots can seriously stress the tree. If you are going to install shade (and drought tolerant - after all the tree will suck up most of the moisture) tolerant plants other than turf I probably wouldn't add soil. The mulch you install around the plants should hide the roots.

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