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Grow Grass in Stubborn Areas: 10 Tips to Make It Happen! (2023)

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Have you ever attempted to grow grass in stubborn areas of your lawn without success? Stubborn spots may be caused by a number of factors, from poor soil quality and lack of sunlight, to improper watering or even dog urine. Knowing how to overcome these problems is key to growing lush green grass in these tricky spots.

This article will provide practical tips and tricks for growing healthy turf in hard-to-grow places, so your lawn looks its best all year round.

Adjust your watering schedule to better suit your lawn’s needs. Water your lawn deeply and less often, to encourage strong root growth.

Test your soil for pH and nutrient levels, and apply a soil amendment if necessary. This will help to improve the fertility of your soil and improve grass growth.

Choose grass varieties that are suited to the climate and soil conditions in your area. This will help ensure that your grass is hardy and better able to withstand environmental stressors.

Avoid dog urine spots, as they can cause brown patches in the grass. If this is a problem, consider using a pet deterrent or train your dog to do its business in an area that isn’t part of your lawn.

Make sure the area receives enough sunlight. If the area is in the shade, consider planting shade-tolerant grass varieties.

Mow your lawn regularly to encourage healthy turf growth. Adjust your mower height to the recommended level for your grass type.

Aerate your lawn once a year to promote healthy root growth. This will also help to reduce compaction and improve the drainage of your soil.

Fertilize your grass regularly to promote healthy growth. Follow the instructions on the fertilizer packaging for application rates and timing.

Understanding the Problem: Why Won’t Grass Grow?

how to grow grass in stubborn areas
If you’re strugglin’ to get grass to grow in certain areas of your lawn, there are a few common culprits. Sunlight is essential for healthy grass growth, and if an area doesn’t receive enough direct sunlight it can lead to bare spots.

Poor soil quality and inadequate waterin’ can also inhibit growth. Weeds, tree roots, dog urine, or compaction from heavy foot traffic may all contribute as well.

Knowin’ what’s causin’ the problem is key when it comes to findin’ a solution!

1 Lack of Sunlight

If your lawn is shaded and stubbornly refusing to thrive, it may be due to lack of sunlight. To ensure that your grass has enough exposure, identify the amount of sun present in the area. Plant species of grass that are adapted to shady conditions and need less sunlight than other varieties.

Prepare the soil before planting, with good drainage capabilities and fertilizing needs that are appropriate for each turfgrass variety. Late spring or early summer is usually ideal for sowing warm-season grass seed, while cool-season types should be planted during spring or fall, when there’s still much sunlight available.

As part of general lawn maintenance, don’t forget to properly irrigate. This is especially important during hot days when evaporation occurs quickly and more frequently, preventing bare spots from forming on areas receiving little sunshine throughout the day.

2 Poor Soil Quality

If your lawn’s struggling, check the soil quality. You can’t expect a crop if the ground’s not fertile. Poor soil could be caused by tree roots taking over, erosion, or compacted soil from foot traffic. Amend it with compost and topsoil to make it hospitable for new turf. Fertilizing grass regularly helps improve fertility levels lost to erosion and compaction. Core aeration and fertilization like Turf Builder should bring life back to stubborn areas that won’t grow lush green grass.

3 Improper Watering

Improper watering can be a major factor in preventing your lawn from thriving. Make sure to water deeply and regularly for best results. Proper irrigation is essential, especially when establishing new grass seedlings. To avoid soil erosion, keep the frequency of watering low but with longer durations. This encourages deep root growth that’s resistant to drought and fungal diseases.

Apply grass fertilizers at appropriate rates, avoiding over-fertilization. This reduces weed control maintenance needs and promotes healthy turf growth.

Warm-season grasses need more frequent light irrigation than cool-season ones. If your lawn contains a mix of both, or there are roots from trees nearby, you may need to up the amount of water you give.

4 Weeds

Too many weeds in your lawn can indicate an imbalance that needs to be addressed quickly, lest you find yourself in a turf-care tug of war. While some weeds are just unsightly, others compete with grass for sunlight and nutrients, leading to patchy areas or bare spots.

Reduce watering to limit weed growth; add mulch around plants to prevent weed seeds from germinating; adjust pH levels in the soil by adding lime or sulfur as needed; control insects like grubs and chinch bugs that damage grass roots and attract more weeds; improve drainage by aerating compacted soil.

When planting new grass seeds near a tree root system or large tree where dog urine may also be present, consider using varieties with deeper roots such as tall fescue which will have better access to moisture below ground level than shallow-rooted Kentucky bluegrass varieties.

By addressing these issues head-on, rather than letting them fester over time without intervention, you’ll enjoy lush green lawns year-round!

5 Tree Roots

Removing tree roots and replenishing the soil can help you establish a healthy lawn, even in challenging conditions. Before attempting this task, it’s important to understand your existing lawn’s characteristics such as shade tolerance and grass type. Consider whether fertilizer application or soil amendments will be necessary for success.

Carefully remove any tree roots from the area using appropriate tools. Add new topsoil with some compost mixed in for improved drainage and free flow of air into the root zone.

Make sure when mowing your lawn you’re not cutting too short so your grass has enough energy to develop strong roots! With careful attention given throughout each step of this process, growing a lush green carpet should no longer be an issue within stubborn areas of your yard!

6 Dog Urine

If you’ve noticed circular patches of browned grass surrounded by lush, vibrant greenery, it could be from canine visitors’ high-nitrogen urine. Early detection’s key for resolving this issue, as dog urine can damage turf-care growth if left untreated.

So, consult a master gardener or lawn care specialist to diagnose potential problems and provide fertilizing solutions tailored to the type of warm-season grass present (e.g. Bermuda grass).

They’ll also recommend prevention techniques like maintaining moisture levels and shade tolerance. Doing this early can save time and money and preserve your lawn’s beauty for years. All turf care practitioners understand this well!

7 Compacted Soil

If your lawn has stubbornly refused to thrive, it could be due to compacted soil preventing air, water and nutrients from reaching your grass. To fix this, aeration is a great solution, allowing for more oxygen and nutrient flow in the soil. Consider salt tolerant grass or deep rooted varieties; they’re better suited for moisture-starved areas. You may need to fertilize the soil with high concentrations of nitrogen-rich urea during warm weather months, if pest control isn’t enough.

Topsoil layers using a sharp shovel, so you can work in good contact between grass seed and a thin layer of compost or topsoil when planting. This will help retain moisture too!

By following these steps, reducing compaction issues might just get rid of your stubborn bare patches once and for all!

Solutions: Tips and Tricks for Growing Grass in Stubborn Areas

Solutions: Tips and Tricks for Growing Grass in Stubborn Areas
If you’re having trouble growing grass in stubborn areas, there are some tips and tricks you can use to help. Start by evaluating the amount of sunlight your lawn gets; not all types of grass thrive in shady spots. Test your soil for its pH balance and nutrient levels so that you know what kind of seed will work best for it.

Choose the right type of grass seed based on location, usage, budget, appearance and maintenance needs too! Planting correctly is also important: stick to cool-season varieties like perennial Ryegrass or Kentucky Bluegrass if planting during spring or fall; warm season varieties such as Bermudagrass should only be planted early summertime.

Once planted correctly, don’t forget to water regularly when germinating – mid-morning is usually ideal – then deep soak twice a week once at mowing height has been reached.

Fertilize with slow release nitrogen rich fertilizer every 8 weeks using half a pound per 1 000 square feet area covered, then top up with compost before raking evenly over turf builder. Aeration may be necessary here too!

Finally, remember weeds indicate competition from other plants so keep them under control, plus address any tree roots/dog urine issues that could affect growth success in stubborn areas.

1 Evaluate the Amount of Sunlight

Do you want your lawn to thrive and become luscious? Assess the amount of sunlight it receives – this plays an important role in successful grass growth. Depending on your local climate, overseeding with a shade-adaptive variety may be necessary if it receives less than 6 hrs of sun per day.

Fertilizing strategies can help maintain health throughout the growing season. Use a slow-release nitrogen fertilizer – apply it every 8 weeks at half to 1 lb per 1,000 sq ft.

Bare patches can benefit from soil amendments like compost or top dressing prior to overseeding. Early fall is usually an ideal time for planting warm season grasses into stubborn areas.

With proper care and attention, these steps will guarantee healthy results come next spring!

2 Test Your Soil

To ensure your lawn is getting the nutrients it needs, test your soil. Start by testing for pH balance. This will help you decide which amendments need to be applied for a healthy environment for grass growth. Additionally, check drainage issues to identify where water may pool or runoff too quickly.

Feed the soil with fertilizer that provides essential elements like nitrogen and phosphorus for the grass seed. Then consider shade issues, as certain types of seed perform better than others in low-light situations. Perennial Ryegrass and Tall Fescue do well under these conditions compared to Bermuda Grass and Zoysia, which need more direct sunlight exposure.

By testing your soil before planting new grass seeds, you can create a healthier atmosphere with higher chances of success!

3 Choose the Right Grass Seed

Choosing the right grass seed for your lawn is essential to ensure it has all the nutrients and sunlight needed to thrive! Different turf varietals react differently in varying climates, soils, and growing conditions. For example, cool-season grasses such as Perennial Ryegrass are ideal for northern regions while warm-season varieties like Bermudagrass do better in southern areas.

Composting soil or using a soil conditioner can help improve the quality of your yard’s dirt before planting any seeds. Starter fertilizer should also be used when fertilizing a new lawn; nitrogen-rich formulas will give you optimal results without burning up young shoots that have just sprouted from seedlings.

Septic tanks may negatively affect some types of root development, so keep this in mind when selecting a variety of grass suitable for stubborn spots on your property!

4 Plant Grass Seed Correctly

Prepare the soil bed with a rake or tiller, breaking up any large clumps and creating an even surface. Choose a variety of grass seed that matches your climate’s shade tolerance needs and cooler temperatures.

Apply approximately one pound per 1,000 square feet of lawn with slow-release nitrogen fertilizer before spreading seeds across prepared soil beds on top of a thin layer of compost. Draw lines along each row and lightly cover with additional compost for optimal germination rates – this’ll also help retain moisture during growth periods when water is scarce.

To ensure your turf has the best chance of taking root, it’s important to plant and spread your grass seed correctly. Fertilizer use should be done in conjunction with planting to give the seeds ample nutrients for growth.

5 Water Your Lawn Correctly

To keep your newly planted turf from wilting in the sun, it’s important to water deeply and regularly. Think of your lawn like a thirsty plant that needs regular hydration for optimal health – just a few drops won’t do the trick!

When covering shade areas or using soil amendments, be aware of overwatering as this can lead to weed control problems.
Grass types need different amounts of water depending on their specific needs, so choose wisely when planting new seedlings in dry weather conditions.
Take into account the quality of your soil when watering grass seed because poor drainage can cause flooding and root rot if not managed properly.

Following these factors will help ensure proper hydration for healthy growth in even stubborn spots where regular maintenance is needed!

6 Use Turf Builder

Boost your lawn’s health and vigor with Turf Builder – it’s the perfect way to give those stubborn spots the extra care they need!
For soil preparation, apply a quick-release starter fertilizer and screened compost.
To prevent weeds from taking over, choose grass varieties that are shade tolerant but also resistant to disease.

Last thing is not familiar symptom of turf-care trouble like bare patches seen in my colleague Alan Bastable’s New Jersey backyard – use Turf Builder for weed prevention as well as promoting healthy growth of grasses there!

7 Aerate Your Lawn

Give your lawn the boost it needs with aeration – a simple and effective way to improve its health and vigor! Aerating your lawn is an essential part of maintaining a healthy, lush green turf. It reduces soil compaction, improves drainage and adds oxygen to the root system.

Fertilizer should be added regularly when overseeding for best results. Choose grass types for stubborn areas based on maintenance needs and usage, such as foot traffic or shade tolerance.

Mowing regularly can prevent pests from taking over in hard-to-reach spots like agronomic bald spots or circular bare patches in parks caused by dog urine.

Break up dirt clumps on surfaces of soil until they’re pea size when establishing an area of hard dirt so new seedlings have space to grow properly!

8 Remove Weeds

Keep your lawn healthy and happy by removing pesky weeds before they have a chance to take hold. Uproot them, just like pulling out an unwanted weed in your garden.

Weeds compete for soil nutrition and can throw off the balance of fertilizer needed for grass growth. Knowing which type of grass you’re growing is essential, as different types respond differently to over-watering, disease control, and other factors.

Matt Guilfoil’s podcast on turf-care is a great resource if you need help figuring out how to grow green grass that lasts through seasons of wear and tear without being overtaken by weeds.

Properly fertilizing with the right amount of nitrogen can create lush environments, where it’s harder for weeds to thrive, compared with thinning patches or bare spots caused by improper watering or lack thereof when establishing seedlings from new batches of grass seed.

9 Address Tree Roots

If you’ve noticed a bare patch in your lawn caused by the roots of a tree that was removed, take action to restore your space. Improve soil quality with compost or top soil. Fertilize the lawn properly. Address compaction through aeration. Choose grass seed that suits your location, usage, and budget. Control weeds with herbicides and other methods. Dan Cutler’s podcast is an excellent source of information for old turf-care methods and diagnosing current issues.

Make sure to pull out any large rocks the tree roots may have been growing around. Otherwise, they’ll cause more damage than good.

10 Address Dog Urine

If you’re noticing circular patches of dry, yellowed grass around your lawn, chances are it’s due to dog urine and you’ll need to take action. To help deter pets from the area, try using natural bug control products or setting up an invisible fence.

You can also add soil additives such as compost or topsoil when planting grass seedlings to improve soil quality for better growth of cool-season grasses like perennial ryegrass and Kentucky bluegrass.

Matt Guilfoil’s mom recommends the patch method – aerate small areas at a time with a core aerator while adding natural fertilizers to slowly release nitrogen over time if needed. Then deep water twice a week after mowing’s been established. This is key for developing strong roots!

If all else fails, consider growing alternative ground covers like clover which won’t be affected by pet urine, but still need some maintenance measures like mowing and seeding again each year.

Case Studies: Real-life Examples of Stubborn Grass

Case Studies: Real-life Examples of Stubborn Grass
Learn from the experiences of others by exploring case studies of successful turf-care in difficult circumstancesu2014you’ll soon be jumping for joy!

Take Alan Bastable’s backyard in New Jersey, where a stubborn bare patch was caused by the roots of a tree that had been removed. After removing any remaining debris, he aerated and tilled his soil to reduce compaction and improve air flow.

He then selected seed based on his location, usage needs, budget constraints and desired appearance before laying it down over evenly prepared soil with compost added as an extra layer for water retention.

With regular watering schedules, following general rules about grass types established by golf-course superintendents Dan Cutler and Matt Guilfoil, combined with some weed control measures thrown into the mix, he was able to establish healthy grass growth within just five weeks – much faster than expected!

It goes to show that taking care when selecting seeds; preparing your soil correctly; using proper irrigation techniques; preventing compaction where possible; controlling weeds effectively is key when trying to grow grass in difficult areas – but you don’t have to do it all alone. Take advice from experts like Cutler & Guilfoil so you can get one step closer towards having luscious green lawns again!

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What is the best type of grass for my region?

When choosing the best type of grass for your region, there are several factors to consider, such as natural fertilizers, planting depth, shade tolerance, water retention and soil pH.

For example, Alan Bastable in New Jersey must find a grass that can handle the stubborn bare patch caused by tree roots he had removed.

The first step is to identify cool-season or warm-season grasses depending on your location. Examples of cool season grasses include Perennial Ryegrass, Kentucky Bluegrass and Tall Fescue, which require more frequent watering than warm season varieties like Bermudagrass, Centipede Grass or Zoysia. But they are better suited for colder climates with shorter growing seasons.

Lastly, it’s important to time planting properly so new seedlings have enough time to establish themselves before winter sets in. Typically, early spring or fall is best!

How much fertilizer should I use?

To get the most out of your lawn, you’ll need to carefully select fertilizer and consider overseeding strategies. Half a pound to one pound of nitrogen-rich slow-release fertilizer per 1,000 square feet of lawn every 8 weeks is best for lush grass growth without scorching or burning your turf.

Take soil amendments and landscaping alternatives into consideration when selecting grass seed varieties for vehicle traffic areas or clay soils in shady areas where weed prevention may be an issue.

How often should I water my lawn?

Watering your lawn correctly is essential to having a healthy and lush-looking yard. To maintain the right pH balance and fertilizer needs, water deeply twice a week once grass reaches mowing height.

This will help establish deep roots rather than shallow ones, ensuring that your grass can handle hot summer days without going bald patches or needing frequent watering.

Additionally, it’s important to prepare the soil before planting any seed mix such as zoysia; make sure it’s loamy with plenty of organic matter for optimal growth at the right time of year!

What is the best time of year to plant grass seed?

Overseeding your lawn with grass seed is a great way to fill in areas that are sparse or patchy. But when it comes to getting the timing right, you need to know what type of grass you’re planting and where you live. Cool-season grasses such as perennial ryegrass and Kentucky bluegrass are best planted in early spring or late summer, while warm-season varieties like Bermudagrass should be planted during early summer.

For warmer winter zones, Matt Guilfoil’s mom recommends overseeding later into autumn for maximum germination success! Fertilizing before seeding helps boost root growth and weed prevention; mulching afterwards can help retain moisture around the seeds so they will flourish come sun exposure season.

Are there any pests I should watch out for?

When it comes to growing grass in stubborn areas, you should always be on the lookout for pests that could cause problems. From disease-carrying fungi to lawn grubs and more, there are plenty of critters out there that may have an effect on your newly planted seedlings.

A healthy dose of fertilizer can help keep them away. Matt Guilfoil’s mother recommends mulching methods such as compost or top soil in cold-winter zones so your plantings will withstand bald spots caused by winter weather.

Keep an eye out for new bare patches – this could indicate a problem with moisture levels or soil treatment.

With knowledge and diligence, you can stay ahead of pesky invaders who might otherwise damage those hard fought efforts at getting lush green grass!


You’ve learned how to tackle the toughest turf-care problems. Now it’s time to take your lawn to the next level.

With the right strategy and a bit of elbow grease, your lawn can be the envy of the neighborhood. So don’t be discouraged when your grass won’t grow u2014 just remember the tips and tricks you learned here.

With a little patience and a lot of hard work, you can have the lushest lawn your neighbors have ever seen!

Avatar for Mutasim Sweileh

Mutasim Sweileh

Mutasim is a published author and software engineer and agriculture expert from the US. To date, he has helped thousands of people make their yards lush and thick.