Would you help me determine the best way to have a lawn under an old oak tree?
Howard County Maryland
This is a difficult situation as there is a lot of competition for moisture and nutrients from the oak tree and the grass. Grass needs at least 4 hours of sunlight to grow. Fine fescues are recommended for shady areas. They are comprised of creeping red fescue, hard fescue, chewings fescue, and sheep fescue. They do not perform well under heavy foot traffic, will not tolerate wet conditions or high rates of nitrogen fertilizer. The best time to establish grass is in the late summer to early fall. Grass seeded in the spring has to make it through the summer stresses. See our publication on turfgrass species grown in Md.
If you are not successful, you may want to lightly mulch the area, and plant groundcovers and/or shade perennials.