Why Doesn’t Grass Grow under my Trees?

Trees add natural beauty to your yard and shade from the hot sun. Shade is nice, but not all types of grass and plants can grow well in the shade. Your yard could have beautiful trees, but if the grass is dying, your landscaping will not be maximized. Our arborists at 770-Tree-Guy can help you solve the mystery of your unhealthy grass and find a good solution for the overall health of your yard.

  •       Low-hanging Limbs Blocking Sunlight—If your trees have low-hanging branches, they could easily be blocking the sunlight your grass needs. You may be able to prune back these branches to allow for better sunlight. Generally speaking, tall trees can have the branches from the first 10 feet of the tree pruned away. Even with smaller trees, you may be able to thin the canopy or raise it without causing damage to the tree. If you need assistance with proper pruning, give us a call!
  •       Mowing Too Low—If you are cutting your grass close like a golf course, the grass will struggle to survive in the shade. As a rule of thumb, let your grass in the shade stay a ½-1 inch longer than you would in direct sun.
  •       Using Fertilizer Improperly—Fertilizer can be a great supplement for your grass, but you need to use the right type and amount. In the shade, your grass does not grow as rapidly. Fertilizer is used up in the growth process. If you are using too much, you are leaving your grass open to diseases. Use about half the amount of fertilizer you would for grass in full sun. We would be happy to help you find the ideal fertilizer for your soil and grass type!
  •       Utilizing the Wrong Grass Type—Not all grass types are able to thrive in the shade. There are warm season grasses and cool season grasses. Each type will look its best at different times of the year and under certain conditions. Ideally, you try to choose a grass which will look good for most of the year. Bermuda grass and zoysia grass are grown throughout our state because they do well with shade from high pine trees, but they fail if planted under trees like dogwoods and oaks. Fescue is the most shade tolerant grass that we have found for the Atlanta area. St Augustine grass types are reasonably tolerant of shade as well. If you are unsure what kind of grass you have or what type would be the best, we can provide some guidance. You need the right grass to grow nicely under your trees if you are set upon having healthy grass in your shady spots.

Another solution to consider is to give up trying to grow grass under your shaded trees. We are not recommending accepting that your yard will look unhealthy, but rather trying a creative solution. Mulch is a great choice for putting underneath your trees. A bed of mulch beneath a tree will look well-kept and intentional. Also, the mulch will provide a significant health boost for your trees. Mulch helps deliver nutrients to your soil and protect the roots of your trees when used properly. We make our own organic mulch in several colors if you are interested in a mulch delivery. In addition to mulch, you could choose to plant some flowers or shrubs near the base of your trees. Make sure to choose something that is shade tolerant, such as hostas, ivy, hydrangeas, etc. Building a garden or mulch bed in place of your failing grass is not giving up. You are choosing to help your yard flourish in the conditions you have.

If you need support with pruning, mulch, or any other tree health issue, call for an arborist consultation. We can help you have a healthier and better looking yard.