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Lawn needs help, lots of shade, pine and oak trees

Discussion in 'Turf Renovation' started by Shoreline, Apr 6, 2010.

  1. Shoreline

    Shoreline LawnSite Member
    Messages: 55

    Picture below, what is the best way to tackle this job. This lawn won't see much sun at all due to the tall Oak and Pine trees surrounding the property.


  2. Think Green

    Think Green LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,746

    I have said it a million times to customers that have this same living condition for lawns.
    " Create a shade garden!" How many times do you go hunting in the woods and see grass growing under the canopy of trees?-- NEVER! only scrub weeds and some brush! Trees will survive by sapping the ground underneath, absorb all the water essential for grass growth, and create undesirable conditions for roots to start. Less than 4 hours of sunlight a day, grass will not grow at all..........!
  3. anotherturfgeek

    anotherturfgeek LawnSite Member
    Messages: 200

  4. Shoreline

    Shoreline LawnSite Member
    Messages: 55

    The homeowner said that her husband used to keep nice and green but she also said that he was almost constantly seeding and fertilizing to keep it like that. Just wondering if there are any new or hybrid seeds that would grow in this environment.
  5. GrassStitcher

    GrassStitcher LawnSite Member
    Messages: 124

    I agree with Think Green. But if you want to take a stab at reseeding use a double Grass Stitcher www.grassstitcher.com and shade seed. I would buy extra seed and keep that GS handy cause it will need more help in the fall then again in the spring.
  6. ArTurf

    ArTurf LawnSite Platinum Member
    Male, from Ark
    Messages: 4,410

    When you mention "the husband used to" it sounds as though that was some time ago. What I see often is an area that does get sufficient sun at first but then the tree canopy closes in quicker than you think. Trees that were 20 ft are now 60ft with similar diameter. Resulting in an area that gets no direct sun and the grass then declines.
  7. CedarStore

    CedarStore Inactive
    Messages: 32

    does the area get a lot of foot traffic? I always thought moss gardens looked nice and don't need a lot of sunlight.
  8. Runner

    Runner LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 13,497

    the first thing it's going to need is a soil test, and more than likely lime. The reason being, is that you are surrounded by oak trees, and pine - both dropping high acid. Depending on the soil sample, to bring the ph up one point will take between 15 to 40# per thousand,...depending on the soil type (sandy soils will accept less than loamy and clay type soils). Regardless, you can only apply approx. 5#/1000 at a time, anyway. Reseeding will then be done, along with starter fert and watering. If you don't have access to a slit seeder, a rake works, but has a tendency to tear up a bit more good grass, as well. The little stitcher gadget thingy looks handy, but I don't know how feasible it would be to do the 1000 to 1200 sq. ft. or so you have there with a 6" wide garden weasel thing. Another option would be (even though I don't do this) to topdress with clean topsoil or a planting soil. This will do two things. Assure your seed/soil contact, and alleviate SOME of the need for the lime underneath. This can only be dove lightly, as to not cover up the existing turfgrass that is growing. Now, mind you,...even when you do get new grass growing, it will only stay if you have an open enough canopy to allow adequate sunlight through to maintain the growth. Additional and regular lime applications will have to be made as well to counter for the continuous drop in ph due to the acidity being consistently added from the trees you have. I hope this info helps.
  9. SeedPro

    SeedPro LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,030

    I have one of your tools. If you want a stab at a heart attack try using on that much area....lol No offense....good little tool but not for entire lawn renovations. :)

    Machine seed it and go easy on the fert.

    2lbs of N per year max.
  10. Think Green

    Think Green LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,746

    Thanks for touching up on the topic of pH because under all trees, the acidity level is way too high to adequately grow most cool or shade grasses.
    I have turned down jobs as this because of the expense associated with the soil testing, the waiting, liming and the waiting. Most customers in my area don't want to take the time nor the money in seeding, reseeding, overseeding and fertilizing to make a fruitful lawn. I didn't mention watering in the hot and dry season just to keep the stuff living. Those trees will soak up all and pertinent water reserves to kill any type of grass seed or sod used. For the most part, I would suggest a real nice shade garden that is lower in maintenance.

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