Bare spots on grass near neighbors oak tree

Asked October 22, 2017, 1:27 PM EDT

Do oak trees cause grass under or near their canopy to die? We have a bare spot that has developed over the last year or so that is just under the outer edge of our neighbors oak tree. They have quite extensive bare spots in their lawn also. I planted grass seed a couple weeks ago, and it has come up nicely, but around the outside edges and weeping down toward the sidewalk the lawn looks like it is dying. Our lawn cutting guy and our lawn treatment service guy both say they have no clue as to what the problem is. My observation throughout the neighborhood is that many lawns have bare spots near the oak trees. Please tell me if there is any truth to my theory, and if so, is there any way to counteract it?

Carroll County Maryland

1 Response

We viewed your photos. It is difficult to grow grass under large mature trees. There is a lot of competition for moisture and nutrients and lack of sunlight. The tree roots usually win. It has also been dry the last month or so and turf on a slope drains well but does not hold a lot of moisture.

All you can do is limb up the tree to let in more sunlight. You can also mulch out to the dripline of the tree. Usually a tall fescue lawn goes dormant during hot summer months and revives with a return to cooler temps and moisture. If you need to replant grass, sow a recommended tall fescue cultivar which are more drought tolerant than other species.

If need be, here are tips on watering a lawn