I run the aerator, through out the seed and fertilizer and try to grow
grass in my yard but it really grows sparsely. Is there really a kind
of grass that thrives in a yard with lots of big trees and a heavy
canopy over the yard with lots of shade...
Fescue is your best bet for a shade grass in your part of the country.
There is a blend that is made for the Southern part of the Fescue zone
called Rebel III or Rebel Excedia. Home Depot carries it. I've also
had good luck with the Scotts blend. I wouldn't get just plain Kentucky
31 as it is pretty course and tends to form clumps. We are just about
ready to start planting Fescue here in north Alabama. I'll probably
start planting around the second week in September. You want to plant
early enough to get a good stand of grass with some root establishment
before your first freeze but if you plant too early and it is still hot
and dry your seed either won't come up or the heat will kill it. I like
to wait till highs are in the 78 ~ 82 degree range. Water a couple of
times a day if you can (you can get a timer at Home Depot or Lowes that
will make this easy). Ideally you want to keep every thing damp so that
it never really dries out. Several light watering a day are better than
one long watering session for this purpose. I like to either throw some
straw (wheat straw with little or no seeds, definitely not hay) or even
better you can go to your local Lesco and get a big bag of cellulose
(the green dyed stuff they use for hydro-seeding). Walmart sells a
little bag of this stuff for like $3 ~ $4 but if you go Lesco you can a
very large bag for about $7. The hydro-seeding people have a machine
that sprays the seed, cellulose mulch and water out and you can do big
areas really fast but you can also just throw the stuff out by hand if
you are just doing your yard. Both the straw and the cellulose help
hold in the moisture and help keep the seed damp. Scratch up the ground
with a stiff rake or better yet a small tiller before throwing out the
seed. Once you get the seed down go over it with some starter
fertilizer and then put down the straw or cellulose. When the seeds
germinate and you have a couple of inches of grass you can cut back on
the water. Don't be tempted to cut the grass too soon. Wait till the
grass blades thicken up (at first it will look like fine green hair).
Cutting too soon can over stress the immature grass and kill it. Keep
in mind that Fescue will do well in shade but doesn't do well in full
sun in your part of the country (unless you have a irrigation system and
use it daily during the summer)
Shade is almost always tough on grass. Bermuda will not tolerate any
shade, and zoysia will tolerate only a limited amount. Try Chewings
fescue, hard red fescue, fine fescue or sheep fescue. Stay away from
turf-type tall fescue.
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