Grass will not grow

Asked July 28, 2017, 11:12 AM EDT

I have a small yard in front of my townhouse and several spots will not grow grass. The is a tree near by and a few surface roots. I have applied top soil and reseeded every year. The grass come up then dies off quickly. One of the spots gets a lot of sun and the other sports are more shady. I going to take a sample. Do you have any suggestions?

Montgomery County Maryland

1 Response

Always seed in fall. Don't fertilize in early spring (causes disease.) Please read through this fact sheet for basic successful lawn establishment:

Planting under trees is difficult when the tree is large and has shallow roots that out-compete the grass for water (especially) and nutrients. Oftentimes, it is impossible to grow grass close to the tree and a ring of mulch or tough ground cover is the best bet. Water for at least the first 2 years to help it get established. (Never plant English ivy, however, as it is highly invasive and destructive to the environment and your landscape.)

Yes, by all means, get your soil tested. It may be very acidic and need lime, among other nutrients. You can click on the 'Soil Testing' icon on the right side of our homepage for help collected the sample and where to send it.