Grass will not grow

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We have a spot in our yard about 14' by 25' that we just can not get grass to grow and stay alive.
We plant it. It grows. Then it slowly goes away and all that is left is dirt.
I've looked for grubs and found none.
Most of it is directly under a tree, but it's not overly shady or dark. It does get sunlight.
It's butted up against our driveway so maybe the car throws salt into that area? Bad soil?
Any thoughts?
Thanks
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Go to google and search for the words COOPERATIVE EXTENSION, plus the name of your state. Many of these organizations will do a detailed soil analysis for free, or very cheaply. Here in NY, it's $1.00 per sample. Get it done. And, be sure to mention what you said above, about the location and the possibility of excess salt. Or, go to a real garden store and pick up a soil test kit. Not just for pH, but also for nutrients.
These tests will determine the chemistry of your soil, but you also need to understand the consistency. At least 24 hours after a good rain, or thorough watering, dig up 2-3 cups of it. Crumble it, then squeeze it into a ball and try to crumble it again. A good rule of thumb is that it should break apart like chocolate cake. You'd be lucky to have soil like that, especially if its a high-traffic area where soil tends to get compressed by feet, etc. If it seem more like clay, you need to lighten it by adding organic matter. Peat moss is a quick fix. Buy some, cut open the package on its front, sort of like the little cereal boxes whose flaps you open to pour in the milk. Take out a chunk of peat moss the size of a large mixing bowl. Fill the resulting hollow with water and come back tomorrow. Right around the hollow, the peat moss will have absorbed the water. Dig out your grass area about 6" deep, mix the soil thoroughly with the peat moss, and put it all back. Put a wide board over it and walk on it gently to flatten it.
Remember that adding peat moss will cause soil to become more acidic. Not a lot, but enough that you'll want to test it next year.
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What kind of tree is it? Does the tree have surface roots? Some trees, like Maples, have surface roots and it is virtually impossible to grow grass under them. If the tree has surface roots, it sucks up water and nutrients, plus the grass roots can't go deep enough to get properly established, leading to the sequence of the grass starting to grow, then dying.
If that;s what you have, it can be a real problem. One solution is to get rid of the tree and replace it with a species that doesn't have this problem. If you have a sprinkler system and can water it regularly, you may be able to top dress it with some topsoil and then regularly water and fertilize it. That may work, at least for awhile, till the roots grow up more.
I also assume you are using a shade grass mix?
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snipped-for-privacy@optonline.net wrote:

You obviously don't have any maple trees in your yard. Perhaps you should come look at my yard, and see the robust lawn underneath my maples.

Ummm... *all* trees have roots near the surface. Grass roots don't go more than a few inches deep. They don't interfere with each other.

Get rid of the tree, without testing the soil first? That's ridiculous.

Should've been the *first* thing to occur to you, not the last...
--
Regards,
Doug Miller (alphageek at milmac dot com)
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Doug Miller wrote:

Perhaps you should look at this, before you make an ass out of yourself with your comments:
http://forestry.about.com/od/treeplanting/p/bad_normaple.htm
"Reconsider Planting Norway Maple in Your Yard One of 10 Good Trees Gone Bad
Norway Maple: Acer platanoides
Why You Should Not Plant Norway Maple!: The shallow, fibrous root system and dense shade of Norway maple make it virtually impossible for grass to grow under the tree. The aggressive roots frequently girdle their parent tree, ultimately choking itself to death. Norway maple is also a non-native exotic. It has escaped the urban environment and is a threat to native maples"
Now all Maples don't have the surface root problems that the Norway species do. But if I asked him if he had this specific variety, do you think he could figure it out? Could you? I figured it was sufficient if he could tell the tree is a Maple and that it has surface roots, which he can readily see.

That's just plain wrong. Some species do have surface roots, that extend on the surface out to the drip line, per the above example. Most have roots that quickly go deeper and are not a problem. Look at this list of desirable street trees from another source and see what is says:
http://www.ci.missoula.mt.us/ParksRec/desirabl.htm Olmstead Norway Maple A. platanoides 'Olmstead' medium can be used where space is limited Park and street; dense shade and surface roots interfere with lawns
Got it now? A Maple and it sure talks about surface roots that interfere with a lawn.

Not ridiculous if the tree has surface roots that will always be a problem regardless of the soil.

Now you have an issue with the order of advice too? If I put it first, you;d bitch about that too and say I must think they guy is stupid. At least I know that some trees do have surface roots and don;t make an ass of myself.

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snipped-for-privacy@optonline.net wrote:

Well, it's too late for you. Perhaps you should have looked at it first. I don't see anything there that applies to "maples" generically, as you claimed.

Note "and dense shade".
Doesn't seem to impede the grass from growing under the Norway maple in my backyard, though. I'll be glad to post a photo to show you that you can't believe everything you read.

What's that have to do with growing grass underneath it?

Quite true: not even the Norway maple has such dense surface roots as to prevent grass from growing.

Doesn't matter whether he (or I) could tell what *species* (not "variety") it is, or not -- because it doesn't matter what species of maple it is. Grass will grow underneath it anyway. I have a large Norway maple (Crimson King variety) in my back yard that has at present a *very* lush growth of grass beneath it. Wanna see a picture?

Doesn't matter -- grass will grow under maples just as easily as under any other tree.

Guess again.

Trees have roots that are both shallow *and* deep -- in the same tree.

*You* don't get it -- it's dense shade that's the real problem.

You really don't understand.

Your advice would have been much better if you'd put that point first -- and then stopped.

You've managed to make quite a thorough ass of yourself here, actually -- go back and read what I wrote.
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Doug Miller (alphageek at milmac dot com)
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Doug Miller wrote:

Never claimed it applied to all Maples. But it's obvious I knew it does apply to some and you clearly did not and will not admit it after making an ass of yourself. I provided you with credible links that show exactly what I'm talking about. Ransley clearly agrees that certain trees have strangling surface roots. Where's your proof? Link please?

Link please?

Yes, according to you. But according to the 2 credible websites I provided, grass will not grow under a Norway maple, which many experts consider to be an intrusive weed. As to what's in your yard, it only became a NORWAY maple after I pointed out these website links. In fact, you haven't got a clue as to what kind of maple it actually is. You're not fooling anyone.

Again, I provided 2 credible tree websites that clearly state otherwise.

No, you don;t understand, as the website, Ransley and I have explained, only some trees have strangling surface roots that create problems. Shade is something entirely different.

We have read what you wrote and it's clear you don;t know what you're talking about.

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snipped-for-privacy@optonline.net wrote:

You wrote: "Some trees, like Maples, have surface roots and it is virtually impossible to grow grass under them."
I don't see anything there that applies that statement to only some maples. Perhaps you do.

Uh-huh. We'll see who the ass is here. You seem determined to demonstrate that it's yourself. I'll be glad to help.

Citing Ransley as your source doesn't do much to enhance your credibility. Or didn't you know that?

Right here:
http://milmac.com/CrimsonKing.jpg
Just took this a few minutes ago in my back yard. Surely a renowned tree expert such as yourself will have no trouble recognizing the distinctive foliage of the Crimson King variety of Norway maple.
Please note the lush growth of grass underneath it. Underneath a tree which you claim it's "virtually impossible" to grow grass under.
I have another Crimson King in my front yard, too. It also has a lush lawn beneath it. Let me know if you want to see a picture of that too.
Also let me know if you want to see photos of the lush lawn underneath the silver maple right in front of my house. I can also provide photos of similarly lush lawns underneath the sugar maple in my neighbor's yard across the street, the red maple in my parents' front yard, and the red maple across the street from them.

http://milmac.com/CrimsonKing.jpg
As noted previously:
http://milmac.com/CrimsonKing.jpg

That's pretty funny, as I have a thick growth of grass under both of the Norway maples in my yard. Any website that claims grass won't grow under a Norway maple is, by definition, *not* credible. I have photographic proof that it will.
http://milmac.com/CrimsonKing.jpg

No, actually, it's been a Norway maple for the entire 30 or so years of its existence. I didn't mention the species until you backed away from your false claim that grass won't grow under (generic) maples, and substituted in its place the false claim that grass won't grow under Norway maples. Now that I've posted photographic proof that it *will*, I expect I'll see you revising your claim again in some fashion.

Guess again. I know exactly what it is. Look at the photo.
http://milmac.com/CrimsonKing.jpg

Everyone is welcome to look at the photo and decide for themselves.
http://milmac.com/CrimsonKing.jpg

Again, any source that makes claims that are directly contrary to observed fact is by definition *not* a credible source.
http://milmac.com/CrimsonKing.jpg

Again -- citing Ransley as a source doesn't improve the strength of your position.

That's what I've been trying to tell you. Any difficulty in growing grass under a maple, or any other tree, is due principally to the shade provided by the tree, not interference from its roots.

You claim grass won't grow under a Norway maple. Here's a photo of a Norway maple with grass growing under it. Lots of grass.
http://milmac.com/CrimsonKing.jpg
It's *you* who doesn't know what he's talking about.
Wanna see a picture of the Norway maple in my front yard, too? Or have you had enough?
--
Regards,
Doug Miller (alphageek-at-milmac-dot-com)
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Doug Miller wrote:

Any one familiar with tree indentification knows that it's very difficult to specifically ID a tree from a web photo. Funny how your precious tree became a Norawy, only after I pointed out that Norway Maples have surface roots that are a problem. Before that, it was just a plain old Maplde.

No evidence that what you have in fact is a Norway Maple. Few days ago it was just a maple, LOL

Take as many as you like. It doesn't prove that they are Norway maples, or that Norway maples are considered an invasive weed.

BS, posting a pic of a tree and claiming that it is a Norway Maple, don't make it one.

Yeah, keep posting that pic and denying the info from authoratative websites on trees. Let's see, who should be believe? You who suddenly claims to have a Norway maple, or tree experts who actually know what they are?

No, I'd still waiting for you to provide a line to a credible website that says Norway maples don't have surface roots that can prevent grass from growing. Or your claim that all trees have surface roots and are the same in that regard. I've provided 2 websites that back up my claim. Your posting a pic of some tree in your yard that YOU now claim is a Norway maple doesn't prove anything.

BS, again, look at the credible tree websites I provided.

Pics of what you claim is a Norway maplea aren;t gonna convince anyone of anything. Show us a credible website that says no trees have surface root, which you claimed. Or one that says Norway maples don't have surface roots.

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snipped-for-privacy@optonline.net wrote:

For most trees, I'd agree with you. But the Crimson King variety of Norway maple has a distinctive *color*, unlike anything else, that enables easy recognition at fifty yards -- to anyone who knows what he's looking for.
Did you even *look* at the photo? Do you have any idea what a Crimson King looks like?

Funny how your claim changed from "maples" to the Norway maple specifically, after I pointed out that grass grows just fine under maple trees.
Funny how you're still denying that my tree is a Norway, even after I've posted photographic proof that you are wrong.

a Crimson King Norway maple looks like, anyway.

Ahh, now I see the problem you're having: you don't have any idea what a Crimson King Norway maple looks like, so when you're presented with a photograph of one, you don't know what you're looking at.
Maybe this will help you.
http://bio.bd.psu.edu/plant_web/Aceraceae/Red_Norway_Maple_Plant.JPG
Notice the lush lawn growing beneath the tree that you claim it's "virtually impossible" to grow grass under.

You obviously are not able to recognize Norway maple when you see one. Maybe these will help:
http://bio.bd.psu.edu/plant_web/Aceraceae/Red_Norway_Maple_Plant.JPG
http://www.mnpower.com/treebook/fact6.html
Notice the lush lawn growing beneath the tree that you claim it's "virtually impossible" to grow grass under.

You obviously are not able to recognize Norway maple when you see one. Maybe these will help:
http://bio.bd.psu.edu/plant_web/Aceraceae/Red_Norway_Maple_Plant.JPG
http://www.mnpower.com/treebook/fact6.html
Notice the lush lawn growing beneath the tree that you claim it's "virtually impossible" to grow grass under.
Any source that makes claims that are directly contradictory to observed fact is not an authoritative or credible source.

You obviously are not able to recognize Norway maple when you see one. Maybe these will help:
http://bio.bd.psu.edu/plant_web/Aceraceae/Red_Norway_Maple_Plant.JPG
http://www.mnpower.com/treebook/fact6.html
Notice the lush lawn growing beneath the tree that you claim it's "virtually impossible" to grow grass under.

Again, any source that makes claims that directly contradict observed fact is not a credible or authoritative source.
You obviously are not able to recognize Norway maple when you see one. Maybe these will help:
http://bio.bd.psu.edu/plant_web/Aceraceae/Red_Norway_Maple_Plant.JPG
http://www.mnpower.com/treebook/fact6.html
Notice the lush lawn growing beneath the tree that you claim it's "virtually impossible" to grow grass under.

Again, any source that makes claims that directly contradict observed fact is not a credible or authoritative source.
You obviously are not able to recognize Norway maple when you see one. Maybe these will help:
http://bio.bd.psu.edu/plant_web/Aceraceae/Red_Norway_Maple_Plant.JPG
http://www.mnpower.com/treebook/fact6.html
Notice the lush lawn growing beneath the tree that you claim it's "virtually impossible" to grow grass under.
--
Regards,
Doug Miller (alphageek-at-milmac-dot-com)
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Doug Miller wrote:

Placed in the context of the OP's problem, it is very clear what I meant. He has a tree. He is unable to grow grass under it. This can be caused by trees that have surface roots, one common species of which is maples. It's not all maples, but it is some. Now, it makes perfect sense to me to suggest that if he can't grow grass and if he has a maple, that he take a look for surface roots. That makes far more sense than getting a tree expert in to identify which species of maples have this problem and which do not.
You, on the other hand, claimed:
"You obviously don't have any maple trees in your yard. Perhaps you should come look at my yard, and see the robust lawn underneath my maples. "
"Ummm... *all* trees have roots near the surface. Grass roots don't go more than a few inches deep. They don't interfere with each other. "
So, it's clear you weren't debating the particular species of maple. You denied the problem of surface roots existed period. I've provided several authoratative links that specifically discuss and address this problem. You have provided nothing, other than a continued rant. I can find you pics of maples that don't have this problem. And I can find you pics of others where it is obvious and it leads to exactly the problem the OP had.
As if you haven;t been thoroghly discredited already, and want to continue to make an ass of yourself, here's more supporting data from Virginia Tech Agricultural Extension that is in line with exactly what I posted:
http://www.ext.vt.edu/departments/envirohort/factsheets2/lawn/sep92pr2.html "Trees that develop a shallow, fibrous root system, such as sugar maple, are extremely competitive with turfgrass for moisture. In addition, research has demonstrated that certain trees like the silver maple excrete toxic substances that have a negative influence on Kentucky bluegrass growth. Trees with heavy shading potential in the form of many large leaves and thick branches, such as some oaks, maples and sweetgums, create a poor environment for turfgrass. "
They specifically call out two more species of maples that exhibit this problem. Are you now gonna tell us that you know more about trees than Virginia Tech? Or are you gonna continue to claim the problem just doesn't exist? Or are you gonna whine that I should have told the OP to identify the tree, instead of just looking to see if the tree he has does have surface roots?
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snipped-for-privacy@optonline.net wrote:

No, I denied that surface roots prevent grass from growing under maples -- which is entirely correct. Grass *does* grow under maples. Instead of desperately searching the web, grasping at any little straw you can find to support your absurd contention, maybe you should step away from the computer, go outdoors, and OPEN YOUR DAMN EYES. Look at the maple trees in your neighborhood -- if you can figure out which ones are maples -- and SEE the grass growing under them.

As I have attempted repeatedly to make clear to you, any source which makes claims that are directly contradictory to observed fact is not an authoritative or credible source. Grass *does* grow under maple trees. Anyone claiming that it does not is a fool.

Liar.
I have provided photographic proof that you are wrong. Clearly you have too little knowledge to recognize or understand that, or too much pride to admit it, or both -- but that's not my fault.

Not necessary -- I took care of that already. Or didn't you notice?
And, of course, "pics of maples that don't have this problem" would seem to contradict your (absurd) claim that it's "virtually impossible" to grow grass under a Norway maple. Guess you hadn't thought that one through too far, had you?

You still haven't figured out that shade has anything to do with it...

Excuse me --- that would be you, not me, who is the discredited ass. You claimed it's "virtually impossible" to grow grass underneath a Norway maple. I have posted links to several photographs illustrating lush growths of grass under Norway maples.

I don't see any corroboration there of your ridiculous claim that it's "virtually impossible" to grow grass under a Norway maple. Not that there's any real surprise in that, though -- the claim is false, absurdly false.

No, I'm going to claim that I can see with my own eyes that grass *does* grow under maple trees. Even Norway maples, which you said it's "virtually impossible" to grow grass under. I notice that Virginian Tech doesn't make that claim. That appears to be made by you, alone. And that fact ought to tell you something.

Are you going to continue to claim that it's "virtually impossible" for grass to grow under a Norway maple, in spite of abundant photographic proof that you are wrong?

What about all those phototgraphs that show, very clearly, lush grass growing underneath a Norway maple? You said it's "virtually impossible" to grow grass under one. And yet there are the photographs -- clear proof that you have no idea what you're talking about.
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Doug Miller (alphageek-at-milmac-dot-com)
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Doug Miller wrote:

Why I am I not surprised that Doug doesn't find Virginia Tech Agricultural Extension credible. Also noticed that you conveniently edited out the source, like you want it to go away, because it's a fair and credible source.

Your photos prove zippo. The fact that you have a picture of a maple with grass growing under it doesn't prove a thing. This problem, which you continue to deny exists, is recognized by all the links I provided. To show you how faulty your reasoning is, consider this. Brown patch is a problem with tall fescue. Following your logic, if I provide a picture of a lawn of green grass, that means brown patch isn't a problem and doesn;t even exist. Or suppose I said hip problems are common in certain dogs, like Labrador Retrievers. According to you supplying a video of a dog walking fine means that the authoratative links about the problem are all wrong and it simply doesn't exist. Or that if the OP had a dog with hip problems and I asked if it was a LAB, because labs are one type of dog known to have that problem, I deserve to be blasted and told the response was completely wrong.
In other words, your arguments are specious.

Not just my claim. It's also clearly stated by the authoratative links. I'm still waiting for a credible link from you that says this problem doesn't exist. Or that all trees have similar surface roots, so there is no difference. So, take it up with Virginia Tech or the other credible links I provided:
http://www.ext.vt.edu/departments/envirohort/factsheets2/lawn/sep92pr2.html "Trees that develop a shallow, fibrous root system, such as sugar maple, are extremely competitive with turfgrass for moisture. In addition, research has demonstrated that certain trees like the silver maple excrete toxic substances that have a negative influence on Kentucky bluegrass growth. Trees with heavy shading potential in the form of many large leaves and thick branches, such as some oaks, maples
and sweetgums, create a poor environment for turfgrass. "
http://forestry.about.com/od/treeplanting/p/bad_normaple.htm "Why You Should Not Plant Norway Maple!: The shallow, fibrous root system and dense shade of Norway maple make it virtually impossible for grass to grow under the tree. The aggressive roots frequently girdle their parent tree, ultimately choking itself to death. Norway maple is also a non-native exotic. It has escaped the urban environment and is a threat to native maples."
http://www.ci.missoula.mt.us/ParksRec/desirabl.htm Olmstead Norway Maple A. platanoides 'Olmstead' medium can be used where space is limited Park and street; dense shade
and surface roots interfere with lawns

Yes, not only I said it's virtually impossible to grow grass under some trees, but those exact words are in the tree link above:
"Why You Should Not Plant Norway Maple!: The shallow, fibrous root system and dense shade of Norway maple make it virtually impossible for grass to grow under the tree. "
So, don't make it look like I'm to one making the outrageous claims as I can support mine with links to experts. I'm still waiting for a link from you where any credible source says that surface roots are not a problem with certain types of trees when growing grass.
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snipped-for-privacy@optonline.net wrote:

At a bare minimum, it obviously proves that your claim that grass won't grow under maple trees is completely wrong. But you won't ever admit that.

This is starting to get pretty funny now. Open your eyes and look.

ROTFLMAO!! *You* are the one making specious arguments here. "Virtually impossible" to grow grass under a Norway maple, you said. Never mind multiple photographs clearly showing exactly that.

Any source that makes statements that are directly contradictory to observed fact is by definition neither authoritative nor credible. Grass *does* grow under maple trees, Norway or otherwise, and anyone who claims it does not is just flat wrong. [That would include yourself, BTW.]
I *have* provided links to photographs -- not just my own -- that show very clearly that grass does in fact grow under maple trees. Open your eyes and look.

Grass *does* grow under maple trees. Even Norway maples. Open your eyes and look.

That just isn't true. Grass *does* grow under Norway maples. Open your eyes and look.

There's that "dense shade" again. You still haven't figured out that that's the important part, not the species of tree providing the shade.

LOOK AT THE PHOTOS. If it's "virtually impossible" to grow grass under a Norway maple, then how did that grass get there?
I suppose next you're going to tell me that they trucked in a bunch of sod just for the photo shoot.

A perfect example of why it's necessary to open one's eyes and look at the real world from time to time. This statement just isn't true. Open your eyes and look.

You're doing a perfectly good enough job of making it look that way without any further assistance from me. Grass *does* grow under maple trees. Even under Norway maples. Open your eyes and look.

Like hell you can. Grass *does* grow under maple trees, and anyone who claims it does not is not an expert but an idiot.

Get up from your computer and go outdoors into the real world. Look at the maple trees in your neighborhood. See the green stuff growing on the ground underneath them. That green stuff is grass. Grass that you claim is "virtually impossible" to grow there.
When one's dogma contradicts observed reality, a rational person abandons his dogma. You continue to grip tightly to yours, and refuse to open your eyes to look at the real world. This is not the behavior of a rational person.
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Doug Miller (alphageek-at-milmac-dot-com)
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Doug Miller wrote:

That's fine, I'm happy to be in the company of Virginia Tech, other tree websites, Mr. Ransley, and our local Master Gardener here in NJ, while you have yet to provide a link that says surface tree roots are not a problem with growing grass. Or how about your claim that all trees had similar roots near the surface? At least you've stopped spouting that ridiculous claim now that you've realized you didn't know what you were talking about. Maybe there is hope for you yet.
Here's the links that state surface roots are an issue with growing grass one more time:

If you bothered to read my original advice to the OP, instead of blasting away in ignorance, you would have seen that after discussing the issue of surface roots, in the very next paragraph I went on to say this:
"If that;s what you have, it can be a real problem. One solution is to
get rid of the tree and replace it with a species that doesn't have this problem. If you have a sprinkler system and can water it regularly, you may be able to top dress it with some topsoil and then regularly water and fertilize it. That may work, at least for awhile, till the roots grow up more. "
So, I think it was clear to everyone who can read, rather than start a pointless attack, that I acknowledged that it is somtimes possible to grow grass under these conditions. I even gave advice how to do so. It's not easy. It doesn;t always work. And it may not be worth the effort, if the tree with the surface root problem isn't that great to begin with.
So, the fact that you can find photos of maples with grass growing around them is perfectly consistent with what I stated, along with what the links state. Do we know how much maintenance that grass in the photos receives? Is it watered with a sprinkler system every three days to replenish the water taken up by the roots? Does it get fertilized every couple months to replace the nutrients? How often is it top dressed? Is the OP prepared to do all that to try to grow grass over surface roots or it easier to get rid of a problem tree, like a Norway maple that many consider an invasive weed to begin with?
And perhaps most interesting of all, I as well as others, provided the OP with advice directed at his question. For someone who claims to know so damn much about growing grass, it's curious how you didn't provide any advice to the OP. The only comments you've made are negative remarks directed at me and Ransley.
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snipped-for-privacy@optonline.net wrote:

I provided links to photographs showing grass growing abundantly under maple trees, something you claimed was "virtually impossible" -- that's certainly proof that it's not the problem you claim it is.

look unbelievably silly by depending solely on "book learning" while making no first-hand observations of the real world]

Lack of answer noted.

I did your original advice to the OP. All of it. I ridiculed this part too, remember? Advising removal of the tree, without testing the soil first to find out what's causing the problem, is just plain idiotic.

Oh, so it's no longer "virtually impossible", huh? Now it's "sometimes possible."
Keep going. You're headed in the right direction, but you still have a long way to go before youre statements conform to reality -- which is that grass *does* grow under maple trees. Open your eyes and look.

Sheesh. Open your eyes. If it's really all that hard to grow grass under maple trees, why are there so many maples in the world with lush lawns beneath them?

What an amazing rationalization: photos of maples with lush lawns growing beneath them are "perfectly consistent" with your claim that it's "virtually impossible" to grow grass under a maple tree.
Wow.
Not sure how you got there, but ... wow.

Dunno, but I can tell you how much "maintenance" the grass under my Norway maples gets. Same as the grass everywhere else in my lawn: mowed about once a week in the spring and summer, leaves mulched in the fall, watered whenever God provides it -- and that's all.

Don't break your arm patting yourself on the back. The "advice" you provided certainly isn't worth bragging about. Isn't worth anything, in fact.

Didn't need to. Doug Kanter's advice was bang on. No need to add anything to it.

Your "advice" richly deserved all the negative remarks I directed at it. It's completely false -- grass *does* grow under maple trees -- and the suggestion to remove the tree is just about the dumbest thing I've read yet in this NG.
As for Ransley -- if he provided any advice, I didn't see it. I KFed him shortly after he first appeared in this NG because of his worthless "advice". That he might agree with you is not a point in your favor.
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Doug Miller (alphageek at milmac dot com)
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Doug Miller wrote:

You have no monopoly on the real world and I trust experts like Virginia Tech know a whole lot more about trees and growing grass than you do.

Yes, ridicule me, Virginial Tech,, agicultural ext service, 2 other credible links, Ransley, WE all deserve ridicule, only YOU are right. As to removing the tree, if he has a tree like a Norway maple, that's more of an invasive weed with surface roots, removing it may be a good solution. The fact that you talk about testing the soil speaks volumes. If you ever saw a tree with surface roots, you;d know you can't even get a shovel in the ground to take a sample, because of the roots. In other words, the grass roots have no where to go and the problem is obvious. At least to those of us who have seen it.
BTW, I see you refuse to discuss your claim that all trees have similar surface roots. You edit it out every time. What's up with that? Embarrassed because it shows you really don't know much at all about trees?

Nothing has changed. The advice on watering, top dressing, and how to best TRY to grow grass under a tree with surface roots was stated in my very first post. Now apparently 2 days later, you managed to read what I first posted when you went on the attack without knowing what you were talking about.

I can go down streets here right and left and show you maples with surface roots that have either no grass, or very poor grass growing under them because of the surface root problem. I can show you other trees growing nearby that don't have surface roots and the grass is growing fine. That is exactly what the links I provided refer to.

That's easy. If you have 10 trees with surface roots that prevent grass from growing, but 1 that has grass growing, because it's been top dressed, watered, fertilized frequently, or maybe the grass was just planted in the spring and hasn;t had time to die off yet, you can take a pic, not hard at all.

Well there's a revelation!
but I can tell you how much "maintenance" the grass under my Norway

I'll leave it for others to judge your truthfullness, but personally, since you don;'t find Virginia Tech or other impartial links I've provided to be credible, I don't choose to believe you. Nor have you provided a single link to back your claim that surface roots aren't a problem.

Yes, again, Virginia Tech and other impartial and credible links I provided talk about exactly what I stated. Do you think there is a conspiracy here? You providing a pic doesn't change that. Suppose someone came in here and had a basement water problem, and I told him not having gutters and improper grading can make it virtually impossible to maintain a dry basement. Following your faulty logic, you providing a pic of a basement that is dry with those improper conditons means the problem doesn;t exist and everyone who believes in the proper advice should be ridiculed.

Why am I not surprised you didn't see it. It's easier to just blast away rather than read and learn. Funny how earlier in this thread you already made disparaging remarks about Ransley too, without even reading what he had to say. Maybe you could do me a favor and killfile me. I'm sure I'd be in good company.
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snipped-for-privacy@optonline.net wrote:

Anybody who claims that it's "virtually impossible" to grow grass under a maple tree doesn't know much about either grass or maple trees.

So far you are the only one I've seen making the utterly absurd recommendation to remove the tree to see if that's causing the problem. All other questions aside, it's stupid on an economic basis. Soil tests are free or at modest cost; having a tree removed costs hundreds of dollars (or many hours of time).
Grass grows under maple trees _just_fine_. The claim that it's "virtually impossible" is just plain not true. Open your eyes and look.

The fact that you *don't* is what speaks volumes.

Uh-huh. Can't even get a shovel in the ground. Must suck to be such a weakling. I don't have that problem.
Speaking of "obvious to those of us who have seen it" -- have a look at the grass growing under the maple trees in your neighborhood. Grass that, according to you, is "virtually impossible" to be there. Open your eyes.

That's because it's irrelevant. Your claim that it's "virtually impossible" to grow grass under a maple tree is directly contradictory to observable fact. It doesn't matter *what* reasons you give in support of a false claim -- it's still false.

At a minimum, I know enough not to claim that grass won't grow where my eyes clearly show me that it will. You haven't figured out even that little bit yet.

Oh -- so in your mind, "virtually impossible" and "sometimes possible" are the same. Got it.

Huh?
So if you can point to one or two maples without lush lawns underneath them, it *must* be because of the "surface root problem." Couldn't be due to anything else, like poor soil or dense shade. Must be those pesky surface roots. Naturally you've closely examined each one of these trees and verified the cause of the problem, right?
Of course, considering your complete inability to recognize a Crimson King Norway maple from photographs, one would seem justified in questioning your ability to distinguish a maple from an oak.

Instead of spending your time looking at internet sites, go outdoors and look at the real world. Look at the maple trees. Look at the grass growing beneath them. You might want to take along a tree identification book (the Audubon Society's 'Field Guide to North American Trees', available at any large bookstore, is a good one) to help you tell which ones are maples and which ones are not.

Oh, I get it now: if there's grass growing under a maple tree, it _must_ be because the owner has top dressed, watered, fertilized frequently, etc. Couldn't _possibly_ be that you simply don't know what you're talking about when you claim that it's "virtually impossible" to get grass to grow there.
Open your eyes and look at the trees around you in the real world. Grass grows just fine under maple trees. Even without all the special help that you claim they require.

I'm perfectly content to have my truthfulness judged by anyone with the ability to open his eyes and look at the real world and see that grass does in fact grow -- readily -- where you claim that it's "virtually impossible".

In other words -- you're so firmly attached to this position that you refuse to open your eyes and look at the world around you, because doing so would show you that you're wrong.

Liar. I have provided photographs that show that grass grows under maple trees -- clearly demonstrating that surface roots aren't anywhere near the problem you falsely make them out to be.
Anybody can open his eyes and look at maple trees in the real world and see that grass will grow under them.
Anybody but you, it seems.

If Virginia Tech recommended removing maple trees to see if that's why grass wouldn't grow in a particular spot, I guess I must have missed it.

No. I just think you don't spend very much time outdoors. Open your eyes. Grass grows under maple trees just fine.

Quite true -- my providing a pic doesn't change the fact that grass grows under maple trees. I had hoped that it might change your insistence that it doesn't. But apparently you choose to believe something you've read, rather than the evidence of your own eyes. Sad.

That logic would be faulty if I were citing an exception and claiming it to be the norm. That's not the case with maple trees and grass, though: the *norm* is that grass grows _just_fine_ under maple trees. Open your eyes and look.
That's all you need to do: open your eyes and look.

You should take your own advice on this point -- except that I'd amend it to say "open your eyes and learn".
When I read something that directly contradicts what I see with my own eyes, I conclude that what I read is baloney. You obviously prefer to close your eyes, or look somewhere else. That's your choice, of course, but I prefer to live in the real world.
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Doug Miller (alphageek at milmac dot com)
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Doug Miller wrote:

Again, it's obvious you have limited experience, or you would know that you can see a surface root tree problem on inspection. I never said to remove the tree to find out if it's a problem. Read and learn.

Yeah, wish we all could be real men like you Doug! LOL You just make yourself look more foolish. Everybody that has dealt with a tree with surface roots knows exactly what I mean by not being able to get a shovel in the ground.

No, it's because it makes it obvious you don't know what you are talking about. Here;s another link on the subject for you:
http://www.yardener.com/SurfaceRootsUnderTrees.html Why Surface Roots? Such roots typically appear when trees are about 10" in diameter or larger. If you don't want surface roots, then you should avoid trees that get big in a hurry, such as Poplars, certain Maples, and some Willows (see list below). Surface rooting is promoted by heavy, poorly drained, and/or shallow soils, which have low oxygen content--the roots need oxygen to grow, and so tend to form near the surface of the soil, then grow above the soil surface as they become larger. Surface roots also can become exposed by soil erosion.
Avoid The Problem First The ultimate solution to surface root problems is to remove offending trees. If you do this, make sure that replacements are located at least four feet from paved areas, and pick trees that are slow to produce surface roots.
Trees often having large surface roots include Norway Maple, Silver Maple, American Beech, European Larch, Sweet Gum, Dawn Redwood, White Mulberry, Colorado Blue Spruce, Poplars, Pin Oak, White Willow, Bald Cypress and Lindens.
Oh, My, there it is again. Not only a discussion of the issue you claim doesn;t exist, but it even has MAPLES on the list. And they even discuss possibly removing the tree, just as I did.
http://www.treesaregood.com/treecare/trees_turf.aspx Competition
While shade is the biggest, most obvious problem trees create for turf growth, a tree's roots also contribute to poor turf performance. Contrary to general thinking, most tree roots are in the top 2 feet of soil. More important, the majority of fine, water absorbing roots are in the top 6 inches of soil. Grass roots ordinarily occupy a much greater percentage of the soil volume than tree roots and outcompete them for water and nutrients, especially around young trees. However, grass root density is often much lower in areas where trees were established first. In these situations, tree roots compete much better for water and nutrients and prevent or reduce the success of establishing new turf.
Wow, see where they say tree roots can prevent establishing turf?
Or how about this from HGTV and the National Gardening Association?
Grass Under Trees? Q. We have just moved into a house that has several large trees with no grass under them. Roots are appearing above the ground. We would like to plant grass under them but don't know where to start. Should we put some top soil down to cover the roots and then plant seed? When should we plant the seed? Should we fertilize at the same time of planting the grass seed? We have no idea what to do to get some nice grass.
--D.W., Alexandria, KY
A. Growing a lush, green lawn under large trees is a difficult proposition. First, the dense shade makes grass struggle to live, the canopy of leaves generally keeps rainfall directly below the tree to a minimum, and finally, the grass roots will have to compete with the larger, more established tree roots for moisture and nutrients. In your case, with tree roots growing at or above the surface of the soil, mowing the lawn will be difficult. If you add topsoil to make a smooth bed for your lawn, you run the risk of smothering the tree's feeder roots. When you visit parks, arboretums and golf courses and see thick turfgrass growing under trees, you'll know it's possible to achieve, but keep in mind that the effect is high in maintenance and very carefully planned before the trees or turf are installed. Most homeowners don't have the time or resources to duplicate it. Instead, plant a groundcover under the trees rather than trying to get grass to grow there. The tree roots will continue to push up over the years and a groundcover such as Ajuga (Carpet Bugle), Vinca (periwinkle), or ivy will grow high enough to camouflage the roots. Hope this information helps!
How about Cornell Cooperative Extension? http://counties.cce.cornell.edu/Suffolk/grownet/lawnmain/shadelwn.html
Growing Lawns Under Shaded Conditions
5. Remove those trees which do not contribute significantly to the overall landscape plan. Often you must decide whether you want trees or grass.
8. Plant tree species which provide open shade rather than dense shade. Also avoid those species known for their habit of producing large amounts of surface roots (i.e., Norway maple).
14. Where shade and competition from tree roots are too limiting consider alternatives to grass.
Hmmm, seems like Cornell, Virginia Tech, National Gardening Association, HGTV and half a dozen other links I previously provided specifically discuss the existence of this problem and offer facts and advice consistent with what I initially gave the OP. It must be getting mighty lonely and embarassing for you. Bet you wish you hadn't attacked me without knowing what you were talking about.
Now, I've had enough of you. You are starting to bore me. You can't even trim a newsgroup post so that people can follow it. I'll let you have the last word, as I'm sure you'll want to dismiss all the above links and references. And please, as I suggested previously, add me to your killfile.
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snipped-for-privacy@optonline.net wrote:

In other words... you finally went outdoors and looked at some real maple trees, and realized that grass really does grow under them, just like I've been trying to tell you all along.
Glad you finally wised up.

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