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Old 02-12-2015, 10:45 AM   #1
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Grass won't grow by Maple tree


We have a large maple tree in our backyard and I'm trying to plan for the Spring. We have not been able to grow grass around the tree as the roots from the large maple tree seem to not allow grass to grow. I put down seed every year and water but it's so patchy and eventually dies. I am thinking about getting a whole bunch of dirt and put around the tree and then put seed down. Will this help? Attached is a picture and its all dirt for about almost half of our back yard. Please advise.
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Old 02-12-2015, 10:56 AM   #2
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The area under the tree is shaded and dry from the tree itself. You need to seed the area in late fall so the winter weather can work it into the soil. Thinning out the branches of the tree will allow more light and rainfall. I don't recommend adding dirt because it can be lethal to an established tree to alter the grade inside the drip line.
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Old 02-12-2015, 10:59 AM   #3
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We have seeded in the Spring and Fall for several years and by the end of the Summer, all the grass just dies. It's very frustrating and quite unpleasant to look at.
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Old 02-12-2015, 11:04 AM   #4
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You will need to keep the area watered manually. Rainfall alone will not suffice.
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Old 02-12-2015, 12:23 PM   #5
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You are wasting your time and money. There is no solution except cutting the tree down. The more you water the lusher the tree will be. The 10,000 hair roots will still pull all the water out of the soil and kill the grass.

Mulch or very hardy ground cover are about your only 2 choices if you want to keep the tree.
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Old 02-12-2015, 12:27 PM   #6
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Want to keep the tree, gives great shade but seems like every year we seed the area and it dies by the Fall. We've been in the home since '93 and it's gotten worse every year and not sure what to do. And if I get a bunch of sod it will just die as well. Very frustrating.
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Old 02-12-2015, 12:37 PM   #7
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Done right large mulch areas look nice. Add a few clumps of Liriope (monkey grass), a few pretty boulders and maybe spot plant some clumps of crocus.
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Old 02-12-2015, 02:51 PM   #8
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Just repeating, reinforcing, reiterating, or whatever you want to call it, what the others have said. Unfortunately, grass does not do well under mature maple trees. First off, the same shade that makes them nice to sit under on a hot day keeps the sun from reaching the ground. Secondly, look under the tree sometime when it's raining. The leaves gather most of the rain that falls on the tree. In fact, when they detect humidity changes, a lot of maple leaves will actually roll a bit to catch as much rain as possible. And what the leaves don't collect the roots do, leaving little for the grass. As mentioned, adding dirt is not really a good option, and while mulch might make the area more appealing, I would go easy on it, because it basically turns to dirt eventually. To one of Polecat's points, we thinned out a pair of Norway maples a few years ago, and they are on an otherwise open piece of property with a maybe 20 degree southward slope, so it improved the lawn significantly. I trimmed them late in the fall, as our local nursery guy suggested, and the trees are doing fine as well.
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Old 02-12-2015, 03:09 PM   #9
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I think trimming the trees is the way to go and maybe plant some more grass seed in early Spring. Is there a special way to trim a maple tree? I just wish I would have done the trimming in the Fall.
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Old 02-12-2015, 04:32 PM   #10
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At first, I thought the non-grass growing area was small and my initial thoughts were to just make a nice mulch circle. Upon looking at the area carefully, it appears that the grass won't grow in a really big area and therefore, mulching that much of your yard would just look ugly.

Options that I can think of are: (1) Trim some branches or some of those big trunks in the picture to give the new grass light and water; (2) Cut down the tree; or (3) Leave the tree alone and install fake grass around the tree. Some counties provide monetary incentives to install fake grass. It doesn't look like you live in one of those, but it can't hurt to look.
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Old 02-12-2015, 06:21 PM   #11
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In addition to everything said, maples are mildly allelopathic, meaning they actively inhibit germination and growth within the drip line. Listen to the other users' advise. Even if you manage to make it work, it would be an unceasing struggle maintaining it.
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Old 02-12-2015, 10:48 PM   #12
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Have you had the soil tested.?
How did you prepare the seeds.?

Where are you located.?

Last edited by ron45; 02-12-2015 at 10:51 PM.
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Old 02-13-2015, 05:28 AM   #13
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Grass under a maple tree is almost if not impossible . A maple is a shallow rooted tree and takes most of the water from the lawn. Between the lack of water and the shade the lawn has no chance. I have the same issue. It's a fact of nature and I live with it.
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Old 02-13-2015, 09:41 PM   #14
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If you pound a bunch of copper nails into that tree, the grass will grow.
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Old 02-14-2015, 03:58 PM   #15
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Artificial turf has come a long way.
You could look at the various styles and pick one that matches your normal lawn. Use the artificial just under the tree, or you could do the whole yard in it.
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