You may be noticing areas where the summer grass (bermuda) is just not growing as well as it did some years prior. There are several explanations to this, so let me start with the most common reason, and that is shade. The small trees that you once had have turned into large, water thirsty behemoths that produce the shade you wanted from the scorching summer sun. However, now there’s another problem we are noticing, too much shade. Bermuda grass needs to have a minimum of six hours of full sun to grow properly. You say the grass was growing fine just a couple of months ago, so why now is it looking so poorly? Most of us planted a winter lawn back in October and the perennial seed is becoming more and more tolerant of heat each year, which allows it to grow into the summer months. My yard has a very shady area on the east side that is surrounded by a large pine and a southern live oak. The structure of the house itself is producing ample shade on the turf as it sits on the north side of the house. My winter lawn is now finally burning out and soon there will be nothing but bare dirt. What now? It’s too early to plant winter rye seed. It’s almost too late to re-sod, as we will be planting again in October, so the answer lies in preparing or being proactive for this same occurrence next year.
Here are some helpful remedies for the “bare lawn syndrome.”
1. Trim the trees. By lifting and thinning the larger, mature trees, we now have more sunlight penetrating through the trees and can get better results with the summer lawn. The area may still need to be replanted with new sod.
2. Plant a fescue seed instead of rye. Fescue seems to last a little longer in the warmer months and sometimes will last long enough until the overseeding for fall takes place.
3. Convert the turf area to granite and shrubs. This is a permanent solution and will allow the trees and shrubs to flourish without the competition of the turf. This will also help reduce your water and seed bill.
4. Plant new sod. This method is temporary and the same process may need to be repeated each and every year.
5. Install Synthetic Turf. This is another permanent solution and will save water and seed costs as well.
6. Wait Until October. With summer coming to an end and October only about six weeks away, we can wait, because scalping and dethatching is usually done by the first week of October and seed planted during the second week. We can now enjoy the green grass in the shaded areas that we had during the fall and winter months.
Please feel free to call for an estimate for any of the above-mentioned solutions. Thank you for your continued patience and understanding.