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Lawn & Garden

Need grass under large oak trees

I am wanting to get some grass growing under my two large trees in my front yard. These trees shade the entire yard for most of the day, the only areas that have any grass are on the edges. I have had three different lawn companies give me quotes on spraying with three different approaches. One wanted to fertilize and seed, another just spray and the third said I had a fungus associated with fescue grass that needed to be treated.


My question is will fescue grow well in this type of light condition, I also live in the midsouth and our climate ranges from single digits at times in winter to 100 degrees this time of year. I really enjoy working in my yard, but tend to get a little discourage if I don't see some signs of success. Also  if fescue wont grow well( IM saying fescue because that is what I have been told the rest of the yard is) what type of seed should I use. Since there is some yard there should I try to start from scratch or should I aerate and seed  over the top (one lawn company suggested this). Can I use a fungicide in the extreme heat or does it have to wait till spring. Please help even if its just a little .......

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Posted 2011-06-28T00:58:02+0000  by jpfrulla83 jpfrulla83

Hi jpfrulla,


I'm Travis from The Home Depot in Atlanta. Welcome to the Community!!


Being an eternal optimist, I must point out that sometimes you have to go with the flow. The most common dilemma that I have encountered in my Home Depot garden center over the past 21 years is how to grow grass under an oak tree. Atlanta is one of the most densely forested urban cities in the world. We have a lot of oak trees and just as many frustrated homeowners that desire a lawn under those trees.


Growing any type of grass under hardwood trees is challenging because of three factors.


First and foremost, oaks and other hardwood trees filter out about 70% of the light. By comparison, a full canopy of pine trees only filters out 50% of the light.


Hardwood trees also have a shallow root system. 50 year old oat trees can drink 50 gallons of water a day! These shallow roots take the water faster than the grass can. Pine trees have a deep tap root that can pull water from a deeper source.


The fall is the season to plant fescue seed. Autumn is called fall for a good reason. Oak trees drop their leaves at about the same time that the new fescue grass is emerging. This can easily smother the new, defenseless grass. Planting fescue in the shade in the spring is no better because the root system of the new seedlings can't take up enough water through their immature roots to survive 100 degree temperatures.


Grass has three strikes against it under hardwood trees. Lack of light, too much competition for water, and leaf drop at a critical time of development.


There are many shade tolerant shrubs and perennials that will do well under your trees. Cultivate the area by planting a few specimens such as azaleas, hosta, pachysandra and cleyera under the oaks. Control weeds and add mulch to dress up the area.


A lawn is not the only way to do a yard.


 When life gives me lemons, I build my lemonade stand in the shade!!



Thanks for the question, I hope this helped.



Posted 2011-06-28T13:28:49+0000  by Travis_HD_ATL
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