I have an area in my lawn that was shaded y a big pine tree.The area was covered with pine needles. I removed them and covered area with top soil from home depot. I seeded with a grass seed mixture. It came up and did fairly well but died inthe winter. Any ideas on how to get grass to grow. The area is also fairly sloped.Thanks
Genesee County Michigan
If the area is shaded now, it is going to be almost impossible to grow grass if the area receives less than eight hours of full sun. At six hours of full sun, the grass will look pretty skimpy.
When you put the grass seed in is important. The best time in the fall is between the middle of August and the middle of September. If it was later than that, the grass was too young and tender to survive. In the spring, it is middle of April to middle of May.
If the top soil purchased was just dumped on top of the soil and not worked in, this can create an artificial growing situation for grass seed. It may be one of the reasons the grass died over the winter. The purchased soil holds moisture differently than what you have an it would have stayed too wet.
So... shade is a problem, if it still exists. You say, "was shaded" which makes it sound like it was in the past. Judge the amount of direct sun. If it is six or under hours, think about shade-loving plants or a shady ground cover like vinca. Grass will never fill in there and it will always have to be reseeded and look bad.
Two different kinds of soil, like frosting on a brownie, is a problem. it needs to be mixed up and mixed in.
Before seeding, rake across the slope in horizontal lines (contour plowing). Don't go vertically because it encourages erosion. Sprinkle a light layer of straw over the seeds. it should look like a lattice and let in light. It should not look like the floor of a horse stall or solid. Keep the area continiously damp and pick off straw as grass comes up.