Growing grass - Knowledgebase Question

West Orange, Ne
Question by phoward34
March 19, 2010
I have tried over several seasons to grow grass in approximately 3 square foot area under a japanese maple in my front yard. I have used the best seeds (scotts) and only get spuds that never catch. Any suggestions?

Answer from NGA
March 19, 2010


It is extremely difficult to get grass to grow beneath a maple tree. Dry, compacted soils, lack of enough sunlight and competition from the tree's shallow roots for moisture and nutrients can make your new grass seed give up in a hurry. Since you wont' want to compromise the health of the tree by using a core aerator to help with compaction, you might be able to simply add a few inches of topsoil over the area - not a lot, but enough for the grass to be able to establish roots and get a jump start on growing before the tree roots compete. I'd pierce the soil with a garden fork first so there's not a barrier between the soil layers, then spread 2" of topsoil over the ground and sow my grass seeds. Keep them well watered and be sure to deliberately water the grass once or twice a week. If you can limb up the maple to allow more sunlight to penetrate to the grass, that will help, as well. If this doesn't work you may have to give up on the turf and grow a dry shade loving ground cover instead. Best wishes with your project!

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