Newly Registered
Posts: 2
Joined: Mon Jun 06, 2016 11:10 am

Laying new grass suggestions?

I'm a total newbie with installing new grass..... Long story short, I have a fairly large area (20 x 20 feet) under a tree that has been bare/dirt for a few years now. We've now decided to do something about it but want to make sure we're on the right track.

The ground under the tree is very hard dirt, and some of the roots of the tree is showing throughout the dirt.. My wife says we could just throw down some compost, soil, sod (St. Augustinegrass) and then water daily...... Does that sound like a decent plan or does the hard ground make our situation different? -- We're not looking for anything fancy, just need some grass!

We live in Fort Worth, Texas.. It will stay pretty hot this summer.... I suppose we'll need something that grows in both shade & direct sun.

Thank you much!


Newly Registered
Posts: 3
Joined: Fri Jul 15, 2016 12:34 pm
Location: Omaha, NE

It might be worth doing a very light tilling job on the ground around the tree, but I think your wife is right. Sod is pretty tough as long as you follow a watering schedule, which will require multiple waterings throughout the day for the first week probably and is very important. Lay some loose dirt down around the tree, try and cover the tree roots if you can and then lay sod on top. Just make sure the grass is good for low light areas. I'm not familiar with the St. Augustines grass as I'm not from Texas, but I think it should be fine.

Good luck

User avatar
Super Green Thumb
Posts: 25279
Joined: Sun Feb 15, 2009 6:04 pm
Location: TN/GA 7b

Personally, I wouldn't bother trying grass there. There's a reason it is bare dirt. The tree shades the area AND sucks up all the water and nutrients. Very difficult to get grass growing there. But there are a lot of shade tolerant ground covers and perennials that will do just fine there. It will be prettier, easier to maintain, and you won't have to try mowing around the tree and over the tree roots.

Newly Registered
Posts: 1
Joined: Wed Aug 03, 2016 5:00 pm

If you have tree roots showing through then it is probably best not to lay grass over the top.

If the area is bare but just hard, you may find this guide useful (note: it is an Australian guide where grass is referred to as 'turf'): ... ate-guide/ It explains tillage and other steps needed to best prepare the ground for grass installation.

Greener Thumb
Posts: 1030
Joined: Mon Oct 19, 2015 9:12 pm
Location: central Ohio

What kind of tree? And yes, it makes a huge difference.

Posts: 13624
Joined: Tue Jan 01, 2013 8:32 am
Location: Hawaii, zone 12a 587 ft elev.

Some trees are aleopathic and don't allow anything to grow under them. If the canopy is dense then a shade tolerant ground cover would be best. It would also be hard to mow if the roots are sticking out of the soil. St augustine is shade tolerant but it still needs good light and a good base to grow in. The problem with just throwing soil on top is that you have to make sure you do not throw soil on the trunk of the tree as well. If you don't want to have to guard your tree, you still need a tree ring to keep the grass from growing too close to the trunk.

Return to “Lawn Care”