grass under trees

What To Do When Grass Won’t Grow Under Your Trees

Having a lush, green, perfect lawn is a gold standard for many homeowners. Unfortunately, the grass seed we lay down doesn’t always like to do what we want. Sometimes it has difficulty getting established and looking nice. One problem area for lawns is underneath trees. Trees are beautiful and should be planted everywhere, especially in urban environments, but they can present problems for lawn lovers. Here’s what to do when grass won’t grow under your trees.

Pick a grass that grows in shade

There are different varieties of grass to choose from. Some are drought-tolerant, others enjoy lots of water. Some enjoy full sun, others thrive in part or complete shade. Picking the right grass for where you’re trying to plant is pretty crucial for experiencing success. If you’re having trouble getting grass to take underneath a tree, try choosing grass specifically marketed for shady areas.

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Water frequently and fertilize

One of the reasons your grass may be failing to thrive beneath a tree is due to resource competition. Trees are huge organisms, especially compared to grass, which requires tons of resources, like water and nutrients, in order to grow. You can help your grass thrive, despite the competition, by watering frequently and providing an organic fertilizer for your grass.

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Related post: Dead Grass? You Might Have Mole Crickets

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Lay down new grass seed every year

In a perfect world, we can lay down a bunch of grass seed and have a perfect, lush lawn. But that isn’t always how it works out, unfortunately. If you have a spot in your yard where grass doesn’t take very well, you’ll likely need to continuously seed and reseed the area. Each spring and fall, lay down a new layer of grass seed to help fill in any areas that may still be bare.

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Work with the shade instead of against it

We humans like to force nature to exist in certain ways for our own satisfaction. Sometimes nature plays along, sometimes it doesn’t. One of the guiding principles of this website is that it’s important to work with nature, not against it. If you can’t seem to get grass to grow under your trees, perhaps you’re working too hard to force a square peg through a round hole.

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Grass isn’t the only kind of landscaping that looks good beneath trees. If you find that grass is just impossible to grow, consider building out a garden bed around your trees instead and plant shade-loving plants, like hostas, that can fill out the space and look good doing it.

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Thomas Nelson
Environmental Advocate
Thomas is an environmental advocate currently residing in the Pacific Northwest. In his spare time, he enjoys experiencing the outdoors, raising chickens and ducks, and reading about current environmental issues. Despite slight colorblindness, his favorite color is green.
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