Shaded, dead lawn with clay-like soil

FrannyzMay 11, 2014

Hi all. I'm looking for some basic diagnostics on what is going on with my lawn. It is mostly under complete shade under a row of trees and has very hard, clay-like soil throughout. It's very compacted and it forms pretty deep puddles when it rains.

It was mowed weekly by the gardener for years even when though there was almost no grass on it. It has looked like this for several years now.

My gardener planted grass seeds and used a cultivator tool on it a few weeks ago. Some baby grass is growing but it's fairly sparse. Is there anything more I can do to help my lawn from here? Obviously we'll stop mowing it.

These photos are from soil that was rained on heavily yesterday.

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dchall_san_antonio(8 San Antonio)

Deep puddles indicate a very serious drainage issue. The grass will never be right until you get that fixed. You likely will need to cut a swale into the yard leading to a gutter for drainage. Or if that treed area is the lowest spot around, then forget about turf grass and reconsider growing swamp grass. Or you could bring in more soil to fill the low spot. The problem with that is you risk smothering the tree roots and bark eventually killing the trees.

That soil looks sandy in your hand.

    Bookmark   May 12, 2014 at 2:01AM
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ApprenticeGardener(7b or 8)

Put in some drainage to take care of the standing water first. Consider using some shade tolerant shrubs and abandon the idea of grass. Put down some mulch, pine straw or bark, or other like material and start calling it a planting bed. There are also shade-tolerant ground covers to consider.

    Bookmark   May 12, 2014 at 1:12PM
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