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Joined: Mon Apr 20, 2015 3:48 pm
Location: Chicago, IL

What a mess

Hello everyone.

Over the last few years due to a tree and my garage blocking off the majority of sun exposure to my lawn I am having serious trouble growing and keeping grass in the back. I desperately need help, hints, tips.. something. I've bought a grass product for "shady lawns" (Turf Champ) but before I put it down I'd love every ones input.

I've attached a few cringe worthy photos so you can see what I am dealing with. The following content is rated PG-13 so please if you're easily scared don't look.

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Posts: 30575
Joined: Thu May 01, 2008 7:21 pm
Location: Zone 6, NJ (3/M)4/E ~ 10/M(11/B)

Personally, I think it would be better off to give up on grass -- you can almost see exactly where the problem area is -- I would just use that as guide to create an edged and mulched shade garden. 8)

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Super Green Thumb
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Joined: Wed May 21, 2014 9:26 pm
Location: Upstate, SC

I think you should do a shade garden!

Hostas are so beautiful, especially around big trees like that! Bleeding hearts and astilbe. Could be STUNNAH!

Some stepping stones a nice bench, a double swing...You could go all over the place!

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Location: Chicago, IL

I was actually thinking of trying to make part of it into a garden with shade thriving plants. I'd still like to try regaining SOME portion of grass back there, along the garage line.

Without sounding like I've zero knowledge in lawn/garden care; am I going to be faced with the same troubles I've been dealing with trying to get the grass to grow, or will the plants take easier?

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Green Thumb
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Joined: Wed Mar 11, 2015 12:18 pm
Location: York, ND (Zone 3b)

Do you walk along the side where the garage is from your door? If you do have some traffic there, I think it may be hard to keep even shade grass growing there. I think a garden would look lovely also but it is work.

I happen to have a moss that grows on the north side of my house that gets little sun because of trees. It happened naturally but fills in about that same area. I do live in the country so no one sees it but from a little distance you can't tell where the moss starts and the grass begins. The moss is nice and thick, so no black dirt shows.

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

here's a thread with some ideas and pretty pictures about shade gardens: ... en#p352770

It may be a bit more work and expense getting it started, but if you go with pretty hardy, shade tolerant perennials, once it gets established it will be very low-maintenance, less work than lawn and will come back nicer every year. Do invest some energy in good soil prep first, that will really help.

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Location: Los Angeles, CA

We have a similar situation in our backyard, and efforts to put in grass have not been successful. I know there are so-called shade varieties of grass, but I have not been able to get those to work for me. We have our trees thinned out so I can increase the light under them, but I still have to stick with shade-loving perennials. That being said, there are a great many wonderful things you can put there, and once they're established your maintenance will be minimal. You might end up happier than with the grass.

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

You would need to find a shade tolerant grass. It probably won't be the same color or texture as the grass that is already there.

Dwarf St. Agustine and mondo are the only shade tolerant grasses I know of. Mondo spreads slowly and does not handle traffic well. Dwarf St. Augustine is a wide bladed grass and you would still need to edge it because it will try to invade the rest of the lawn.

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One thing I have learned is the leaves have to be raked up in the fall. I have 27 trees in my yard. We took out 90 bags of leaves last year and four this spring. Thank you oak trees! The more we keep them raked up the better the grass grows.
Have you decided what to try?

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