Grass will not grow

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snipped-for-privacy@optonline.net wrote:

So you're able to see a surface root problem, but you're not able to see grass growing under a maple. Amazing.

You wrote, I quote: "One solution is to get rid of the tree."
I guess technically it's true that you didn't suggest removing the tree to find out if that's the problem -- you just *assumed* that the tree is the problem.
Of course, anyone who bothers to actually *look* at real trees in the real world can see that grass grows readily under maple trees.
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Doug Miller (alphageek at milmac dot com)
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There are a few factors that have to be brought together to not allow grass to grow, the main thing a lawn needs is a certain minimum amount of sun per day. In areas I have poor sun the maples finish the lawn, in areas I have sun the maples severly restrict the lawn from growing much, but it is green. A real shade gardener will rate trees and always put Maples on the bottom as a whole and Oaks as a non issue as to allowing a plant to reach its full potential. Doug your lawn under the maple may be green and look fine, but it is restricted, it has enough sun to keep it alive. The OP probably has to little sun from other buildings and nearby trees that just don`t allow him the minimum to keep things alive, and the maple roots insure its final. He may also have poor dirt, but his tree is thiving. If you don`t believe Maples are an issue contact your nursery shade pro, its common knowledge to get a shade plants full potential you don`t plant under certain Maple species root zone. I buy hostas from a local award winning breeder www.thehostalady.com who refered me to the Copper Sulfate impregnated plastic mesh bags, that some gardeners have to go to the extent of to get a plant to grow to its potential, Maples to me are a pain the the A to grow plants around, but in lawn areas I have some that help by reducing my mowing, and ive had a Silver that killed my lawn as the tree grew, till I removed the tree. Incompatible tree roots are all to often overlooked.
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says...

Me too. No particular problem growing grass under my maples. Although I threw down a little lime every other year to keep the grass growing under a crabapple tree. However, having some bushes ade trees to the south of it removed some years ago to replace a storm drain has made even that unecessary. It was the light conditions as well as the pH that was keeping it a little bare before that.
Another option is to spread some topsoil and re-seed. I'm doing that because clearly the fill that was spread around after a foundation repair wasn't supporting anything living.
Finally, grass sometimes just plain takes some persistance. I'd overseeded under the crabapple tree even before the light-blocking vegetation was removed, breaking up the soil a bit with an up-and-down motion of a straight rake, with some success. I fully expect to overseed this fall, what I've spread and seeded in the past week or so by the foundation repair.
Banty (for once happy to see a long stretch of rainy days in the forecast...)
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Careful here -- trader4 is going to tell you that you don't know what you're talking about.
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Doug Miller (alphageek at milmac dot com)
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Certain common Maple species such as Silver maple dont allow anything to grow underneath the root zone. For gardeners intent on planting plants and keeping bad trees a company makes a Copper Sulfate impregnated mesh bad you bury first and plant into. Where I have Maples my hostas are 6" where I have no Maples the same plant type is 3-4ft. So forget the grass, make a rock-moss garden or cut the tree down. Maples literaly suck everything first.
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Factors include: Soil chemistry -- availability of nutrients, -- amount of organic matter (compost) -- acidity etc. Soil texture (compaction prevents water reaching roots) Seed varieties (grass or rye, clover, fescue etc.); also intrusive weeds Watering: lawns grow best with an inch of rain every week (in summer: but beware moss and mildew.) Temperature governs for how many months of the year your grass plants can grow.
--
Don Phillipson
Carlsbad Springs
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Steve K wrote:

the surface causing this too although not in such a large area. You deep can you dig in the area?
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Is (or has) this spot subject to foot traffic. The soil may just be too compacted.
For a small patch, its hard to determine exactly why but replacing the topsoil is cheap and usually effective.
Just dig out an inch or so off the top and dump a bag of topsoil and manure then mix that into some native soil, seed, press down and start over.
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There are many types of trees with strangling roots to some extent, just talk to a good shade gardener, im killing my maples, nothing grows under what I have but weeds.
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If you are lucky it is a mixture adjustment, turning it in will lean it of gas, try it turn it in till it runs best.
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side of the house, where the grass just wouldn't grow. The 1st 9' north of the house is now brick pavers .... looks great. The next area, under a maple, is birmed up about 6" high and planted with all kinds of things ... flowers, wild grass clusters and yes, even some weeds look pretty good. We even had some purple kale to give some color. BTW, the maple trunk is about 16' from the house. Add some low voltage lighting and it makes a great area.
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Ignoring the pleas to kill your tree.
That's just over a Yard at 1" deep. For that size I might buy 2-3 yards of amendment (whatever compost soil mix you find at the materials yard) spread that over the top and roto till it in then buy sod of an appropriate blend for your location and sun exposure. Add some Gypsem if you have clay to help keep it broken up
That's about $130 in materials plus two delivery charges (unless you have a truck) assuming $0.30/SF for grass and $11 per yard for dirt. You can have it looking great in a couple of days.
You can seed too of course but that's a lot more waiting, hoping and watering then the birds will eat half the seed anyway.
Some of the premium [sod] grasses are more disease resistant. Stay away from grasses like bluegrass that are hard to care for. They are essentially many individual plants so when bare spots develop they don't fill back in. Rhyzomatic grasses (zoyosa) which form dense root masses which spread are better. Consult the sod farm sales person for good local advice.
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PipeDown wrote:

easilly. When I dug out the roots for a dead hedge plant, I found almost nothing but rock. The area had once been a parking area, and just covered over the rock. The other area had a bunch of concrete pavers buried very shallow. Dug them out, levelled the soil and now the grass grows.
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No, you're wrong -- that's not why grass didn't grow there. Your real problem was surface roots from a maple tree. Just ask trader4. He knows all about it.
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Doug Miller (alphageek at milmac dot com)
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Steve K wrote:

Most grasses need at least 2 hours of sun a day (not "bright shade"). A tree can suck water and fertilizer, so that is a consideration. Is the rest of the lawn healthy and lush, or "so-so"? If ground is absolutely bare, I would rake it, seed it, water daily until established. If attempted, don't wait for hot weather. Local conditions vary too much for anyone to give the precise answer you need. As others have suggested, local extension service can give good info, as well as soil testing. I would ask them, also, what ground cover might be more appropriate for the spot. You've grown grass before, but extra water and fertilizing at the right time may make a difference, along with thinning the tree to allow more sun. If there are roots at the surface that interfere with mowing, ground cover or shrubs is probably a better choice.
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Could very well be the soil. Run a comprehensive soil test to find out. Road salt can make it difficult for most plants to grow and the only practical way to get rid of the salt to replace the soil, drench it, or allow it to rain on it a few dozen times. Petroleum or anti-freeze spills are not good either.
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There is no such thing as bad soil. There is only soil that does bad things.

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Dig a hole and see what is down underneath. Knew a friend who found out that his front lawn used to be a gravel parking lot for the development. The builder just spread soil over it and laid sod. Also heard of concrete slabs under the soil. Worth checking out.

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Sounds like when they built the house the lazy incompetant builder let the concrete guys just empty their washed out tank into the yard. Nothing grows there. If it's the end of the day and the last pour, a lot of times they sneak a garden hose into the unit and wash it out so the concrete doesn't set at night and a lot of times there is quite a bit left in there.
All watered down and poured into your yard.
Dig down about 1 foot and take a sample at 6" and 1" and 2" and send them to your state lab for anylsis.
If it comes back full of alkloids, you'll have to rent a tiny bulldozer/scooper and scoop off the top layer of soil, then have a dump truck come and dump some new topsoil down for you.
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bd

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