Asked July 27, 2015, 9:49 AM EDT

I have attached photographs of the front and rear of my property. My home was purchased 18 years ago with Bermuda sod in the front and Fescue in the rear. The rear of my property is a run off for heavy rain. The front lawn under the trees is in shade most of the day. Do you have any suggestions on how to grow grass in the bare areas or how to generally inprove the look of the lawn. Thank you, Joel Smith 2003 Woodside Park DR. Woodstock, GA 30188 770-592-8788

Cherokee County Georgia

1 Response

Thank you for contacting the Cherokee County UGA Extension Office and Master Gardeners concerning issues with your turf grass. Let's look at your rear fescue lawn first. Fescue is a cool weather grass that struggles in our hot Atlanta summers. It requires aeration, reseeding and fertilization every fall in late Sept. In the summer it must be kept watered but not wet. I would recommend that you consider sodding the back with bermuda or zoysia if you get at least six hrs of sun. These are both warm weather grasses and the zoysia can tolerate a little more shade than the bermuda. From the photo there appears to be a lot of sand in the runoff. If this is the case, it is hard to maintain a lawn with a high proportion of sand because it will dry out too quickly. Golf courses use sand but are on a very intense and technical care program that is very expensive. Our Georgia clay is an excellent soil for turf grass, especially if amendments are tilled in before the sod or seed is put down. Depending on what you use your rear lawn for (play area, walking, etc.) you might want to put in ground cover to hold the soil and eliminate the turf. Now, to your bermuda. Bermuda requires a minimum of 6 hrs of sun to thrive. As your trees have grown, they now shade the grass and it will not grow nor win the competition for nutrients and water. I recommend you either mulch around your trees out to the shade line or consider a shade tolerant ground cover planted under the trees. I have included a link to UGA's excellent turf site that will help with grass species selection and proper care. Please contact us if you have additional questions.
Mark Dady, UGA Master Gardener