Grass and Trees

Asked October 20, 2019, 1:01 PM EDT

I have a difficult time with bare spots in my front yard and it doesn't seem to matter how many times I overseed. Any advice would be greatly appreciated? My front yard has three mature sweet gum trees. In addition, my front yard gets full sun. I do water daily. When I dig in the yard, the soil is dry and there is a fine web of roots. In the enclosed photo u don't see the bare spots, but you can see where the grass is brown. Thanks in advance, Frank

Middlesex County New Jersey

1 Response


We are coming out of a period of drought where it rained very little over August and September. Trees will take up the water deep from an area, leaving little for the turfgrass, so the turfgrass dies first. We have many brown areas under trees due to this. There are also grass types more suited to shade under trees, and I'm not sure what type of grass seed you had originally put down, for a sun and shade type situation.
Watering is best done once or twice a week deeply, rather than more often but less deep. If you have a sprinkler, turn it on in the morning and let it run for about 50 minutes on an area. The old saying is "an inch of water once a week". That will encourage the grass to put down deeper roots.
You may want to get a soil test to check nutrient levels too:
You may need to add some organic matter like compost.
Thank you for contacting Cooperative Extension,