seeding a shady lawn. i mean shady!

Discussion in 'Turf Renovation' started by ant, Mar 11, 2012.

  1. ant

    ant LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,469

    i have a client that i take care of all his commercial property's and he wants me to take care of his house. (his son said good luck! he has been through every lawn contractor in the phone book! i said great!) he is shade 99% and i explained to him that u cant grow grass in a forest! he has water and he is willing to try anything.. he made the comment to me saying "if it needs a weekly seeding then do it" i am obligated to make this work! what can i do? i remember doing a soil test a few years ago and nothing was out of the ordinary except i think the Ph may have been high..
  2. JB1

    JB1 LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 5,904

    give him a smack to the head, theres reasons grass won't grow in the woods.
  3. White Gardens

    White Gardens LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 6,776

    You need to do your darnedest to try and sell him on a complete shade garden in his backyard. Design it and install it. Then sell him on a maintenance package.

    As for PH, though off a little, it still might be adding to the problem of no grass.

    If he really wants grass and noting else,then tell him you'll hire a tree service to thin the trees, then sell him a soil correction and sod job. After the sod is installed, over-seed once a month with a creeping red-fescue for shade lawns as the majority of sod is sun tolerant varieties.

    At least with landscaping it, it would be a bigger up front cost with just minor maintenance fees over time. With trying to do grass, he'll end up spending way more money over the long-run.

  4. cclllc

    cclllc LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 911

    I had a long time customer who had the same problem.He had like 300 trees (yes that many) on an acre lot.Allot being very small but it was shady.He had very little grass.I told him he needed to cut about half of them and he said no that it was the reason he bought the lot.I told him I could get him grass but it needed to be watered allot.He spent the money on the irrigation system and I brought in new topsoil,seeded and strawed.I sowed it heavy with Creeping Red and it did great. You may want to suggest clumping several trees into beds.I made about a dozen kidney shaped beds and planted Ivy in them.He was thrilled.I wish I had pics.Hope this helps.
  5. RigglePLC

    RigglePLC LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 13,793

    Do you have a light meter. Get one.

    Learn how to use it before going out to his house. I found out I had to cover up about 3/4ths of the window in order to get good readings, (otherwise it read 100 percent anytime I was outside of the house).

    Above is right. Try to convince him to go with various ground covers, myrtle, hosta, pachysandra, euonymous, ferns, bark, art objects, planters, fountains, birdbaths, gazebo, wet bar, jumbo gas grill.

    If not the reseed spring and fall with a top grade perennial rye. Just as good as red fescue in this situation. Use plenty of seed to assure a good percentage takes and establishes itself.

    Dasher II blends well with quality fine fescues for instance.
    Last edited: Mar 11, 2012
  6. jfoxtrot9

    jfoxtrot9 LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 290

    I have yet to try it, but here is an idea...

    Poa Supina.

    Google it. I have heard it indeed grows well and aggressivly at that, in the shade. I have heard one guy call it "cheating". :) Very expensive, but it is so aggressive, it can be sowed in a small percentage of the mix and will become the dominant stand in just a few years.
  7. phasthound

    phasthound LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 5,158


    Everything above is correct, but you knew that. :)
    Feel free contact me for seed source and other advice.
  8. cclllc

    cclllc LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 911

    The only thing I didn't like about the grass I planted was it was so fine and limp.
  9. Smallaxe

    Smallaxe LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 10,082

    If you take a walk through the local forests, you may notice that 'grasses' are everywhere... when you look close enough to see what makes the difference you'll be able to put in some fairly nice forestlawns, yourself...

    The biggest problem that people have is they tend to think of forestlawn in the same fashion they think of the Scott's label lawn...

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