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Having trouble Growing Grass

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.

Tree_1.jpg
 

tacoma200

LawnSite Fanatic
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.
 

rodfather

LawnSite Fanatic
Location
Clinton, NJ
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.
 

David C.

LawnSite Member
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????
 

rodfather

LawnSite Fanatic
Location
Clinton, NJ
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????
A great choice..a thin blade that can get extremely dark green if cared for with the right nutrients.
 
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.
 
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.
 

tacoma200

LawnSite Fanatic
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.
 

patterson

LawnSite Member
Location
indianapolis, IN
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.
 
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