Dead grass redux

Having read the "dead grass" thread, I'm afraid I'm in for bad news.
Writing from SE Michigan, zone 6. The front lawn has a maple tree -
red maple, I think - at least in the fall the leaves turn red. It
casts a deep shade, but worse is that the ground around it has lots of
thin roots. Needless to say, no grass grows there. I was thinking of
using a slit seeder, thinking that would cut the roots. But, well --
is there any type of grass that will grow there?
Reply to
I was reading your discussion and while I don't understand any of this I bet my grandfather would be interested in this. He loves gardening and has quite a good track record with it.
Reply to
I'm in the same zone as you, probably 100 or 150 miles to your east.
Put down a layer of good black soil under the tree. Not the shit they call compost or peat moss. 1 or 2 inches is all you need. Mix in some 24-24-24 lawn-starter fertilizer.
If you want instant grass - buy some sod and lay it down. If you seed, you want a deep-shade grass seed (Supranova Poa Supina / Supranova Supina Bluegrass).
Soil and roots WILL NOT BE your problem (unless you have clay soil). It will be the shade. What is the diameter of the tree trunk? Can you walk under the tree when it's fully leafed-out in the summer without hitting your head on leaves or branches?
Reply to
Lawn Guy
Bingo. Exactly the problem I described in the other post. Some species of trees, some maples in particular, have these thin, dense roots that stay close to the surface. The Norway maple is well know for this problem and is a big planting mistake for areas where you want to grow grass. The roots are dense enough that a slit seeder will not cut them, only bounce around and run over the top of them and NOT penetrate the soil. I have a maple here in my yard and have been through this experience. I don't know of any grass solution that will work, because you have a dense root system at the surface that crowds out any grass and sucks up the water and nutrients.
Go ahead and try that approach. Been there, done that. Bluegrass may be an even worse choice because it has higher nitrogen requirements than other grasses. So, to try to make it grow, you'll be applying fertilizer. Guess what else wants that fertilizer and other nutrients? Those pesky thin, dense, tree roots from your Maple. So, they will start extending up into that nice new topsoil too. And in a year or two, you'll be back where you started.
Reply to
He's already trying to grow grass under a tree. Don't you think the tree will already be depleting the soil anyways?
Anyone who wants a thick, healthly lawn will already be applying fertilizer. Your argument is a red herring. His problem will a reduction in sunlight starting in mid-june until fall. You put any other type of grass there and it will thin out quickly.
So what's wrong with fertilizing your trees?
Unlikely. I've got several large maples (silver and sugar) and the only surface roots I see are large and woody and would easily be burried for years if I covered them with an inch or two of topsoil. It's the cotton-woods and locusts that grow agressive surface roots much faster that are more troublesome.
Reply to
Lawn Guy
You're the second fool to post the same comment.
WTF is the deal with that?
What Blog? This is not a blog.
He posted a question - he described a problem. How is that helpful?
Reply to
I don't know very much those issues about maples, but I think the roots generally develop upwards in asfictics soils where not enough air close to the roots prevent them to absorb mineral elements (the mineral absorptions requires chemical energy produced only if there is enough air close to the roots). In other case the roots go upwards. This phenomenon is very common in plants growing in town streets under pavements.
I think if you have enough organic rotting matter on the ground below the tree, the soil mantain more soft and aired and only thin roots will emerge over the soil.
Besides you can grow your lawn early before maple leafs are so wide to prevent light reach the soil. In my country garden there is an hedge maple and their branches ad leafs don't prevent clover to grow. Clover give nitrogenum to the maple and let soil water get out through stomes, so that soil is not so wet to cause maple suffer air scarcity.
Reply to
Lancillotto del lago
Do you think that trees have the same fertilizer requirements as turfgrass?
And you'd shorten the trees lifespan, in the process. Those roots are there, at that depth, for a reason. That's where the water, nutrients, and more importantly, oxygen is located. If you bury the roots deeper, you'll deprive the tree for many years of one or more of those things. Please don't profess to know about trees, their growth habits, and their nutrient requirements. You obviously have little to no training in the subject.
Reply to
Eggs Zachtly
Why not do what's best for the tree, and put a layer of organic mulch out to the dripline? You'll protect the rootmass, which in a maple grows much more horizontally than other trees - hence the stiff competition with the grass, as well as conserve water and promote Mycorrhizae symbiosis.
Reply to
Eggs Zachtly
I have seen many species of trees in urban settings that are surrounded by paving almost up to their trunk and they grow very large and appear very healthy.
Paving like that is not something I would ever do or recommend, but it's clear evidence that the idea of adding a few additional inches of topsoil under trees will have ZERO effect on oxygen availability to the roots, and a healthy layer of turf grass under a tree will probably do more for water retention and keeping the soil moist and cool in the middle of summer vs having bare soil.
Reply to
Lawn Guy

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