Search

Nelson did a great job. He took extra effort to ensure the gates were closed after texting to let me know he was finished. I have had consistently good experiences with PTS in the past & look forward to working with you in the future. ”- Bill H.

Search

Just a note to let you know that Michael came by before 9. Thank you so very much. I don’t think I’ve ever met so many people from the same company that are as nice as your employees are. All the managers should be really proud. ”- Geri G.

Shade Tree vs. Your Lawn: Which Will Win?

Across Dallas-Fort Worth there are large, beautiful oaks, sprawling pecans and many other large trees trees that offer up much-needed shade. If you own a home, planting a shade tree in your landscape offers benefits such as lower air conditioner bills, plus shaded outdoor areas for lounging and entertaining. Shade trees are pretty non-negotiable in our hot Texas climate. Unfortunately, all that shade can cause some serious challenges for your beloved lawn.

PTSSHADETREE

Shade is often the culprit of thin, weak grass.

Were you told that St. Augustine is more shade tolerant, only to find that it is in decline under your large shade tree?
There’s a big difference between “shade tolerant” and “shade loving”
plants. While some plants may “tolerate” a bit more shade, that doesn’t
mean they’ll perform at their best in shady conditions. The reality is
that all lawn grasses are sun plants; they need a good six hours of sun
to thrive. Even St. Augustine. While St. Augustine does tolerate a bit
more shade than say Bermuda grass, it doesn’t grow well in full or dense
shade. As trees mature and cast more shade, you’ll typically find even
your St. Augustine lawns thinning out. Too much shade also weakens your
lawn and makes it more susceptible to pests, diseases, drought and cold
damage.


Preservation Tree Service Leaf Icon

Not only is shade a problem for local lawns, trees will typically outcompete lawns for water and nutrients.

Preservation Tree Service Leaf Icon

Why does your neighbor grow grass under THEIR shade tree?

You
might wonder why your neighbor across the street has lush green grass
under their large oak tree and you don’t. While it might seem like they
have the same light levels, or “shade” as you, their lawn most likely
receives more direct sunlight. Often the orientation of the sun is
different on their property or the height of the tree canopy that allows
in more light. Not all shade is equal. You might be surprised to learn that the placement of your house, tree
and height of the canopy may result in much more shade on your lawn than
your neighbor’s.

Can you prune trees to let the light shine through?

Thinning out the canopy to allow more light to hit your lawn could eventually mean big problems for your shade tree. This technique is incredibly difficult and should only be performed or overseen by an experienced certified arborist.
Many people in our area try this option with very damaging results.
Improper pruning or too much thinning of large trees typically weakens them. Once a storm rolls in with high winds and heavy rain, your
weakened tree may not be able to stand up to the elements. Your tree, or
even your property, could suffer significant damage, or you could lose
the entire tree.

Broccoli tree 2

This is what we call lion tailing or a “broccoli tree.” This is not what your tree should look like.

Will more water and fertilizer help your lawn?

No
amount of extra water or fertilizer can replace sunlight. Grass needs
the sunlight to make the energy it needs to thrive. Trying to make up
for a lack of sunlight with more water or fertilizer won’t solve your
shade problem. But it will waste water and cause a host of fungal
diseases in your lawn.

What are my options?

Unfortunately, trying to grow a lush lawn in heavy shade isn’t a realistic goal.
As trees grow and cast more shade, you’ll need to transition to shade-appropriate ground covers such as liriope, mondo grass, Persian ivy,
lamium, Asian jasmine, ajuga and moneywort. While large trees tolerate
established ground covers or shrubs under their canopy, it’s best not to
do regular digging or planting in the tree’s root zone. Try to avoid
having ground covers grow against the base of your tree trunk to avoid
damage or decay. You also want to make sure you’re not over-watering
plantings under your trees. Be careful of ivy growing up your trees. Ivy growing up the trunk could lead to trunk damage that will invite pests and disease to attack your tree.

Entry Info

Leave a Comment