The Q&A Archives: How do we get the grass to grow and return the following season?

Question: Hi,

We have loved here since 1985 and just can't seem to get a lawn going in the front of the house. We have lots of pine trees and have used lime. We have also used various types of grasses, sun/shade etc. We have tried putting in top soil and we get the same results. Last year we used those biodegradable blankets and things looked promising. However, here we are again looking at just dried out dirt (no pun intended).
What do you suggest!!! I look at our neighrbors and they seem to grow grass ok and they have the same environment!



Answer: Based on your description, I tend to think there must be something that is different about your property vs your neighbors. Maybe the original topsoil came from a different source, or there is a different pattern of rain runoff on your property, or they are growing a different grass variety, for example.

Keep in mind that turf grass does best in full sun all day long, in soil that is eveny moist yet well drained, and with decent fertility. If for example the trees shade your lawn area so there is less than about six hours of direct sun, or if the tree roots are sucking the moisture out of the soil so it is very dry, or if there is poor drainage so the area is extra wet, or if there is bedrock under a thin layer of soil, these types of factors can prevent you from having a healthy lawn.

I would suggest you begin by running some basic soil tests to check fertility and pH and make any required adjustments as indicated by the test results. There is no way to get this part right without testing. Your Penn State county extension should be able to help with the testing and interpreting the results. They should also be able to help you develop a lawn maintenance plan suited to the specific type of grass you are growing and the soil/growing conditions in your yard. I hope this helps you get started trouble-shooting.

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