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Discussion in 'Turf Renovation' started by Smallaxe, Apr 23, 2013.

  1. Smallaxe

    Smallaxe LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 10,082

    The snow is gone now,,, and even though I put on my winter dress it is possible to clear the turf of winter debris and ice,,, allowing the sun to dry, warm and cheer up the frozen turf...

    No real surprises, in that dormant seeding is STILL on the surface of the bare spots because there was no freeze/thaw cycle under the 2-3 feet of snow and ice that stayed all Winter,,, but there was one point of interest that I did not expect...

    When cleaning a particularily shady area that has "ADEQUATE" grass inspite of all the trees and such, I noticed that this lawn area now has grass so thick as to be valuable as sod... no dirt exposed over the entire terrace as I was blowing out the acorns, pine cones, twigs and needles...

    I cringe when I think that after these several years of getting to this point some LCO would decide it is time for a Spring Time De-Thatching episode,,, but it certainly gave me pause to decide what is the next best step forward???

    This really is the type of shade lawn that people always say to 'give up' and put in ground cover... but to be honest,,, this is the first time I've had this kind of success with shade lawn and I am not sure what could/should be done next... it is a fragile environment and I'd hate to ruin it...

    Any suggestions???
  2. Smallaxe

    Smallaxe LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 10,082

    OK then... I've decided to go with compost now and Milorganite next month...

    The thinking is to be sure that neither type of thatch nor the soil structure ever impede water infiltration and perculation... compost helps with the digestion of lawn debris and should speed up the warming of the soil as well... It tends to give a rich green color and by the time we are in 'full swing' the Fe should give it a blue sheen...

    All this from turf that has a tree every 6 - 10 feet in any given direction... Most of the canapy is pine too,,, so the ground isn't really getting sun even now, before the Oaks leaf out...

    If I can get pix of how dense the area is w/out revealing location I'll post some once we're growing again... :)
  3. bepperb

    bepperb LawnSite Member
    Messages: 14

    I live in a wooded culdesac and from my hammock I can see what works and what doesn't in dense shade, and the differences are drastic and cultural in nature. Fertilization has really no impact on performance, I base this on a neighbor who doesn't, one who tru-greens, and one who DIY's about once a month all of which have thin patchy grass. The key difference from the neighbor with the best is that he overseeds every spring as early as possible, before the leaves block out all the sun, and gets a good month or maybe two before there isn't much light on the grass. Last year he paid the kids 1 dollar each to stay off the grass for the month of May. Another neighbor overseeds super late, like June, I'm not sure what he's doing but it hasn't come up in conversation so I leave it alone. I'd go so far as saying that doesn't work at all.

    Personally I'm copying the "good" lawn and doing ok. I still fert at half rate, but the grass grows so slow I'm not sure that's even necessary. And yes, about half my backyard is mulch... a man's got to know his grasses limitations.
  4. Smallaxe

    Smallaxe LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 10,082

    It's NOT a matter of whether I can get dense sod quality lawn in the shade... It IS already done... My shade lawn is better than most sun lawns and I NEVER use CG Preventer(pre-M)...

    What I'm talking about is the,,, next best step...

    I'm dealing with a dense canopy of mature pines so the Spring sun doesn't help much...
    You are already on your way to success by using half fertilizer... once you get your timing squared away , you may have a better lawn than you do now... half the water is generally wise too... :)

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