The Q&A Archives: Growing Grass

Question: I have a area of lawn under an big oak tree. When I sow grass seeds they do not come up I cover them with the soil and still knowing help????????

Answer: Turfgrasses won't grow in the shade for any length of time and the problem with planting under oaks is that the roots of the tree will compete with the roots of the grass for moisture and nutrients. So even though you've tried to seed and reseed the area, grass simply won't grow there. You could plant an evergreen groundcover under the oak. However, Oaks are very particular about sharing their space with other plants. They generally do not like as much water as other plants need. With this in mind, the following plants will grow in the shade of your oak, with very little water and should make good companions to your oaks: Achillea (wooly yarrow), Duchesnea indica (Indian mock strawberry), Cotoneaster, Hardenbergia (lilac vine), Sollya heterophylla (Australian Bluebell Creeper), and Ribes viburnifolium (Catalina Perfume). Good luck with your landscape!

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