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dead grass

my lawn has died due to the tree cover. it is now just dirt, i want to plant grass but i dont know what i need to do to prevent this from happening again. please help

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Posted 2013-06-21T19:05:14+0000  by kimbrock kimbrock

Talking to an arborist about trimming or thinning the trees may be the first step. There are turf grasses that are tolerant to shade but almost all plants need some sun, especially, turf grasses. Once you get the trees under control, if there is any grass left, it may just be dormant. Bermuda becomes dormant under drought conditions but will revive with spring and fall rain; however, Bermuda grass also loves full sun and not a choice for shaded areas. Empire Zoyzia, St. Augustine, Buffalo grass, and fescue will tolerate shade. The broader the leaf of the grass leaf on the stolen, the more shade the plant will tolerate. That is why Bermuda with the fine textured leaves of some of the hybrid cultivar must have full sun. In reverse, St. Augustine has fairly broad leaf with sun seaking stolens. St. Augustine

kimbrock wrote:

my lawn has died due to the tree cover. it is now just dirt, i want to plant grass but i dont know what i need to do to prevent this from happening again. please help

 will spread quickly while tolerating some shade.

Posted 2013-06-21T19:33:54+0000  by insero

Hi kimbrock,


Thank you for your question and welcome to our community.  Depending on how much sunlight your lawn is receiving will determine the type of grass you will need to have.  You may have had a full sun fescue before the tree started to block much of the sun your grass was receiving. 


How much sun does your lawn get now?  There are grass seeds that will tolerate part sun which is 4-6 hours of sun and then there are grass seeds which will tolerate less than 4 hours of sunlight called Dense Shade grass.  


                               Fescue Bonsai Dwarf Tall.jpg Scotts Sun-Shade Mix.jpg

                                     Scotts Dense Shade Grass Seed.jpgPennington Dense Shade Grass seed.jpg


Check with your local Home Depot Garden Department for product availability.  Be sure to prepare your desired area for seed by adding a soil amendment if needed or at least adding a good quality topper prior to adding your seed.  It is important that you leave significant buffer between the desired lawn area and the base of the tree.  Usually about 3-4 feet should be enough.  


Before you spread the grass seed, be sure to add about 1 inch of the topper, then add your seed.  You will want to cover the seed with about 1/8 to no more than 1/4 inch of the topper.  This will keep the soil over the seed damp and prevent the birds and other critters from stealing your seed.  For best application of the grass seed, use a spreader, either hand held or a push spreader.  


Scotts Hand Grinder Spreader 2.jpg Scotts Rotary Speader.jpgScotts Drop Spreader.jpg


Once the seed has been covered with the topper, you will want to  lightly water the lawn several  times a day just to keep the topper damp.  Since you will have more shade, your area may not dry out as fast as it would if the sun was shining on it all day long.  


To help your new grass seed root faster, you can spread a Starter Fertilizer over the topper.  A Starter Fertilizer is high in Phosphate/Phosphorus which will help to stimulate the root growth in the grass seed.


                                                         Scotts Starter Fertilizer.jpg




You should see grass growing in 7-10 days.  As the grass starts to grow, your watering will change from many times a day to only 2-3 times a day.  Best time to water is in the early morning once the grass seed has become established.  Avoid watering at night time. The grass should rest at night and be hydrated in the morning so that it can with stand the heat of the day. 


Be sure to let us know if you have any further questions.  Take some pictures of your grass planting project and share them with the rest of the community in our Project Library under "I Did This".




Posted 2013-06-21T21:07:18+0000  by Rick_HD_OC

thank you so much for the info. hopefully i will have a great yard soon

Posted 2013-06-22T02:27:13+0000  by kimbrock

I had pretty much the same problem and I finally bought two types of grass seed, one for the shaded area and the other for full sun. It is doing well and had to overcome the weed patch that had sprouted. Putting peat moss over the seed to keep it moist will get it started a lot quicker also.

Posted 2013-06-22T17:31:24+0000  by Shorty97814
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