The Q&A Archives: Bare Spots In Lawn

Question: We have started having bare spots in our lawn in the past two years. We have a large river birch tree that in is the landscape area around the bare spots, and wondered if the roots spreading could have anything to do with the bare spots? If so, is there any solution?
Short of cutting down the tree, that is!

Answer: I think as the tree grows you will have more and more trouble getting your lawn to grow beneath the tree. Typically a tree's root system spreads out nearly twice the diameter of the canopy, and these roots compete with everything else for moisture and nutrients. As the canopy expands, it casts shade and grass isn't very shade tolerant. You can rake the bare areas and reseed them, then water them deeply. You will have to water your lawn more to give it enough moisture to survive, considering the competition from the tree roots. Eventually you may want to consider planting a dry shade groundcover beneath the tree (such as pachysandra or vinca minor) instead of trying to grow healthy turf in the area. Best wishes with your landscape!

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