I get asked a lot of questions...like a WHOLE lot of questions but the one I get asked with the most frequency is "why won't my grass grow?"
It seems like every single client has a portion of their lawn or landscape that just doesn't grow grass well and some clients have entire lawns that won't grow well so today we are going to tackle this question.
Here are some (but certainly not all) of the most common reasons your grass won't grow.
This is by far the most common culprit of sparse lawns.
FACT: there is no such thing as a lawn grass that will grow in deep shade...period.
If I could invent a grass that will grow with only 1 hour of sunlight each day I would be a billionaire with my own private island. Here in Georgia the most common lawn grasses are Bermuda, Centipede, Zoysia, St. Augustine and a little fescue here and there.
BERMUDA & CENTIPEDE
They need at least 8 hours of direct sunlight per day to thrive and be thick and full. Plant them in areas where they get less than that (like under trees, right up next to homes or borders that cast shade) and they will begin to thin out and fade quickly. In one growing season a newly planted bermuda lawn that doesn't get enough sun will begin to thin out and look bad. DO NOT throw good money away by planting these grasses in areas the don't get 8 hours of direct sunlight.
ZOYSIA VARIETIES, ST. AUGUSTINE AND FESCUE
These varieties are slightly more shade tolerant than bermuda or centipede. They need at least 6 hours of direct sunlight to thrive. They will also fade away if they get less than that.
WATCH OUT - you will see marketing material from some growers and sod farms touting the shade tolerance of these varieties and while they do have more shade tolerance than others....seeing the words "shade tolerant" DOES NOT mean they will grow in the deep shade. They still need sun - 6 hours of it minimum!
This one is the most obvious to me. Grass is a living thing and needs to be watered regularly, especially during the hot summer months. If you do not give your lawn the proper amount of water it will not like you and will under perform and even die. An irrigation system is the insurance policy for your yard. I recommend them for every lawn. If you do not have an irrigation system and do not plan to invest in one, then be prepared to drag hoses and move sprinklers around your lawn on a very regular basis if you want beautiful grass.
Poor soil conditions will get ya every time. Many people think that Georgia red clay is a very poor soil with no nutrients. Part of that is true, but the main reason people have trouble growing a nice lawn on Georgia red clay is COMPACTION, not nutrients levels. Georgia red clay actually as a lot of good stuff in it but it compacts so hard that the lawn roots cannot penetrate deep enough.
FACT: the deeper the roots in your lawn the better it will be.
Solution? Before you plant your lawn, make sure you break up the soil at least 4-6 inches - be it tilling, plowing, power raking, cut and fill, whatever...just loosen the soil. Then you can grade it smooth and you are ready to grow a lawn. Even if you don't have topsoil, just loosening the soil will make a huge difference.
Competition from invasive weeds and grasses can take a toll on your lawn grasses. They can spread throughout your lawn and suck vital nutrients and water away from grass. Not to mention they make it ugly. Get set up with a turf care company that can provide you with a program tailored to your lawn type. They will kill and prevent invasive weeds along with fertilization at the proper times. We recommend (if you are in his service area) Chris with Precision Lawn Care. His number is 478-550-2093. Tell him I sent ya!
Trees are another major source of competition. Ever noticed how your lawn dries out faster and/or is thin around your trees even if it's getting the proper amount of sun? Combat this by watering these areas longer or lay out your bed lines so as to keep your lawn out even with the edge of the tree canopy.
FACT: those hungry, water sapping roots on trees begin to fade once you get out past the canopy of the tree.
A bad initial grade, i.e. one that holds water is a death sentence for a patch of lawn. Grass loves water but it doesn't like being submerged in water.
Too much water can be as detrimental as not enough causing mold, mildew, fungus, root rot and a host of other issues. If you have low areas that hold water, get them up to proper grade, fix them and you will see better results.
While these are not all of the reasons why your grass won't grow they are the 5 most common. I could literally get into the "weeds" with this topic but I'll save that for another day. If you have places in your lawn that are struggling...start your analysis with these 5 reasons. More than likely it will be one or a combination of these problems.
If you can't fix it yourself or would like to have a pro assess the situation you know where to find us.
We'll see ya next time, good luck with your landscape and get outside!