I live in Cincinnati Ohio, and roughly speaking, my reasonably
large backyard is surrounded by trees. The parts that get at least
partial shade grow well, but there is a sunny spot in the middle of
the backyard (roughly 8 by 10 feet) that grows very poorly. In every
7 inch square space (roughly speaking again), there is only one clump
of brownish looking grass with barespots in between the clumps. It
seems like the barespot grows slightly more every year. Can anyone
tell me what the problem is so that I can fix it this year?
Hard to say, could be a number of things...can be as simple as someone
dumping out the rock salt several years ago after making home made ice
cream, to weed killers used to control something, or maybe someone once
parked an old car in that spot dripping oil. Maybe start with getting
soil samples analyzed to make sure it's not an environmental issue.
Haven't noticed much in the way of little holes or Japanese beetles in
the 6 years that I have lived in this house, but I will look closer.
Also, it is possible that someone dumped something harmful on the
land, but I doubt it because the previous owner of the house was a
federal marshall who was very fussy. (For instance, he has left notes
in the house about the exact length of a pipe, required maintenance
Put some of the soil in a container (not used for food), and see if you can
sprout some grass seed in it. Mist lightly with a spray bottle and cover
with plastic wrap, leaving a bit of ventilation. Buy a small bag of grass
seed. Don't use some ancient seed that's been laying around the garage
forever, or the experiment will be meaningless. And, while you're digging up
some soil, look carefully for grubs. If you *do* find grubs, don't go nuts
with chemicals until you read about alternative methods that also work,
have you tried watering on a timer yet? we gave up in our little back yard
the soil was too compacted from use. we had nice weeds, but little else so we
away with the grass/weed combo
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Zone 5 next to Lake Michigan
It could be that they seeded the lawn to make sure the partial shade
areas grew well and used the wrong seed for the sunny spot.
Does that spot get a lot of traffic? Maybe it's not turf grass.
Does it green up in the summer? It could be hot weather grass which
instantly turns brown after the first frost.
You probably can overseed and get some coverage for this summer but if
you're planning on a major renovation of this area, do it over the Labor
Day weekend. Grass seed germinates and grows best when planted at that
time of the year.
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