How do I fix this lawn area that fails to thrive? zone 6b

oxalisismynemisis

LawnSite Member
https://imgur.com/LcMnBRi

https://imgur.com/NSNThSw

This is Kentucky USA. This area of my lawn is always a problem. I THINK it suffers from lack of sun and foot traffic. Probably gets 4-5 hours of sun a day. I've reseeded this area twice in 6 years. I used an overseeding machine both times and turf type tall fescue seed. Both times the rest of the lawn did well and filled in nicely. I'm quite happy with the rest of the lawn. This area has never quite filled in.

How do I fix this? I was reading seed bag labels at the local big box store. There seems to be 3 mixes available here.

"Deep shade mix" is a mix of specific fescue types. "Sun and shade mix" is a mixture of perennial rye and bluegrass. Sometimes they throw in some creeping red fescue. Full sun is almost always a mix of tall fescue varieties.

I like the idea of keeping things all fescue but I'm not sure that this shady area can grow TTTF so I'm considering using one of the "shadier" mixes.
What are the fescues that are used in the "deep shade" mix? How do they differ from the TTTF in the rest of the lawn?
What do you all think about mixing perennial ryes and bluegrass in with a TTTF lawn? Will the rye out compete the TTTF over time or vice versa?

How would you fix this area?
 

That Guy Gary

LawnSite Gold Member
Location
SW Idaho
They are fine fescues, they have really thin needle like blades.

Some cultivars of tall fescue tolerate shade more than others. I have some on the north side of a building that only gets a few hours of sun in the evening and it is in good shape but hardly sees any traffic.

Scott's makes a dense shade tall fescue blend, might have to order it online but it should be a good choice for the area.

Can you do anything to bring more light in, like prune the trees around it?
 
OP
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oxalisismynemisis

LawnSite Member
They are fine fescues, they have really thin needle like blades.

Some cultivars of tall fescue tolerate shade more than others. I have some on the north side of a building that only gets a few hours of sun in the evening and it is in good shape but hardly sees any traffic.

Scott's makes a dense shade tall fescue blend, might have to order it online but it should be a good choice for the area.

Can you do anything to bring more light in, like prune the trees around it?
Unfortunately this is shaded by my house and back porch. Can't prune those back.

I wouldn't mind having a different grass in this area if it would stay put and was about the same color as the TTTF.
 
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hal

LawnSite Fanatic
Location
Georgia
Make a bed out of it, or use mondo grass. It can tolerate a lot of shade and abuse.
 

Mudly

LawnSite Senior Member
Location
OH
As I’ve said in the past. If someone doesn’t take a soil sample everyone is just guessing. Removing arsenic from your yard is probable going to be one of your issues. Im betting you have iron deficiencies because of the arsenic leaching from your ties. Get your soil tested and some of us can get you a propa diagnosis.
 
OP
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oxalisismynemisis

LawnSite Member
As I’ve said in the past. If someone doesn’t take a soil sample everyone is just guessing. Removing arsenic from your yard is probable going to be one of your issues. Im betting you have iron deficiencies because of the arsenic leaching from your ties. Get your soil tested and some of us can get you a propa diagnosis.
I had a soil sample done last fall when I over seeded. 9/6/2018
Had the tests done at the Ag Extension office. I do it every couple of years.
P 659
K 586
soil ph 6.1
buffer ph 6.5
Ca 6666
Mg 644
Zn 52.1

No mention of tests for arsenic.
FWIW the bottom and sides of the railroad ties are wrapped in 10 black poly sheet plastic.
 

That Guy Gary

LawnSite Gold Member
Location
SW Idaho
As I’ve said in the past. If someone doesn’t take a soil sample everyone is just guessing. Removing arsenic from your yard is probable going to be one of your issues. Im betting you have iron deficiencies because of the arsenic leaching from your ties. Get your soil tested and some of us can get you a propa diagnosis.
Nonsense. Arsenic is commonly found in pressure treated lumber. Railroad ties are treated with creosote, ie coal tar and does not contain high levels of arsenic.
 

Mudly

LawnSite Senior Member
Location
OH
I had a soil sample done last fall when I over seeded. 9/6/2018
Had the tests done at the Ag Extension office. I do it every couple of years.
P 659
K 586
soil ph 6.1
buffer ph 6.5
Ca 6666
Mg 644
Zn 52.1

No mention of tests for arsenic.
FWIW the bottom and sides of the railroad ties are wrapped in 10 black poly sheet plastic.
Are your numbers in ppm? And are you sure you didn’t make any mistakes? Contaminate the test ect
 

Mudly

LawnSite Senior Member
Location
OH
Nonsense. Arsenic is commonly found in pressure treated lumber. Railroad ties are treated with creosote, ie coal tar and does not contain high levels of arsenic.
Mmm not so common now a day. Railroad ties are still commonly treated with arsenic. Treated lumber not so much, it would have to be a really old piece of wood.
 
OP
O

oxalisismynemisis

LawnSite Member
Are your numbers in ppm? And are you sure you didn’t make any mistakes? Contaminate the test ect
Numbers could be ppm. Not sure.

They also had a chart showing a range from low to high. P and K were high.

I added nitrogen and lime at the reccommended rates.
 

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