Our lawn is a mess! The attached photo is from the front, where it only gets...

Asked April 9, 2014, 4:56 PM EDT

Our lawn is a mess! The attached photo is from the front, where it only gets 4 hours of sun a day. The county maple tree has gotten huge, increasing our shade every year. The back gets 6 hours or so. Bare, muddy spots and weeds are increasing, while the grass cover is decreasing. We have not fed, aerated, or overseeded our lawn in 7 years. I'm wondering if the photo indicates any pests, in addition to our neglect. Please advise/suggest some options. We do some things right--we leave the grass clippings on, and mow/shred fallen leaves in autumn, plus a huge Scotch pine drops needles in the fall. I'm sure this is not enough. Our lawn is infested with hairy bittercress (Cardamine hirsuta). We are considering alternatives to a lawn in the front, such as a meadow of indigenous plants, or native shortgrasses. Thank you.

Montgomery County Maryland

1 Response

Start with a soil test . Six hours of sunlight is sufficient to grow a lawn. Tree roots may be competing for the same nutrients as the grass plant , its not too late to apply a spring fertilizer application with crabgrass preventer. In late summer or early fall is the ideal time to do a fall renovation, overseeding and fertilizerapplication. See the attached publication .http://extension.umd.edu/sites/default/files/_images/programs/hgic/Publications/HG102%20Lawn%20Estab...
Mowing will take care of the hairy bittercrest.