How to grow grass under maple trees

How to Grow Grass Under a Silver Maple Tree | Home Guides

By Angela Ryczkowski

A lush lawn is often prized for its appearance, feel and ability to withstand activity, while silver maple (Acer saccharinum) and other trees are also enjoyed for their looks and the shade created. However, turfgrass in shady locations often suffers from a lack of vigor and density that makes it susceptible to disease and weed problems, severely affecting a yard's aesthetics. Selecting an appropriate grass species or cultivar and observing certain care practices increases the likelihood that turf can perform well under a silver maple tree.

  1. Select suitable grass seeds, sprigs or sod for shade when there is currently little or no grass under the maple. Fescues, St. Augustinegrass, zoysiagrass and rough bluegrass are species of grass that can tolerate some shade. Shade-tolerant cultivars of other species may also grow successfully. A grass seed mix or sod blend designated for shaded areas typically offers multiple species of grass to ensure dense, healthy turf with year-round appeal. Soil moisture should also influence grass selection. For example, rough bluegrass performs better on poorly drained, moist soils than other grasses.

  2. Cultivate the soil shallowly when the grass has not already been planted. Break up the top 2 to 3 inches of soil and remove rocks and weeds from the area. Avoid damaging shallow tree roots by working around them and leave about 2 feet of space around the tree uncultivated to encourage tree health and reduce the likelihood of mechanical injury when mowing turf. Work amendments like sand or peat moss into the soil, but do not cover tree roots with more than 1 1/2 inches of soil or dressing.

  3. Sow seeds or lay sprigs or sod. Use a rake to level the ground and broadcast seeds or sprigs or lay down the sod. Rake the seeds into the soil lightly. Water the seeds in lightly one to three times daily for about a week then reduce irrigation frequency while increasing the amount of water per session once grass sprouts.

  4. Irrigate the shaded grass deeply and infrequently. Most shaded turf requires only 1/2 to 1 inch of water weekly. Water in the morning to avoid prolonged leaf wetness overnight. Deep, occasional watering encourages the silver maple to grow deeper feeder roots.

  5. Mow the grass in the shade about 1/2 inch higher than the grass grown in the sun, so the mowing height is around 3 to 4 inches. A higher mowing height maintains a larger leaf surface, which helps to absorb light, encourages deeper rooting and lowers the frequency of leaf-damaging mowing. Never remove more than one-third of the grass blade at a time.

  6. Apply fertilizer specifically for shade. Turfgrass in shade requires only minimum nitrogen applications. Excessive nitrogen promotes vulnerable new growth. Potassium improves turf's shade tolerance.

  7. Prune out branches of the silver maple and any other nearby vegetation selectively. Thinning out branches increases the amount of sunlight available to the turf and improves circulation.

  8. Rake up or finely chop up leaves from the silver maple or other trees when leaves drop in fall. Fallen leaves block available sunlight and can trap moisture against the grass, encouraging disease.

  9. Reseed, or over-seed, the turf to improve a poorly performing area without totally renovating it. To over-seed, mow the exiting grass short, lightly break up the soil with a rake, sow the new seeds, spread a thin layer of fertilizer and soil over the seeds and irrigate the area regularly until new sprouts emerge.


  • University of California: Managing Lawns in Shade
  • Iowa State University Extension: Growing Grass in Shady Areas


  • University of California Statewide Integrated Pest Management Program: Turfgrass Species
  • Clemson University Cooperative Extension: Growing Grass in Shade


  • If the silver maple has a very dense canopy or requires corrective pruning, remove limbs and branches before sowing seeds or laying sod to avoid damaging the grass.
  • Reduce the competition between tree and grass roots by injecting fertilizer for the tree into the soil to a depth of about 10 inches.


  • Do not apply fertilizer to a young lawn until the grass has been mowed at least two to three time.

Writer Bio

Angela Ryczkowski is a professional writer who has served as a greenhouse manager and certified wildland firefighter. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in urban and regional studies.

Do Maple Trees Kill Grass?

Maple trees make for beautiful shady additions to most lawn landscapes. However, before you plant your tree, you are wondering if the maple tree will kill your lawn or make your soil acidic. You have come to the right place! In this post, we thoroughly answer your question using up-to-date information.

Mature maple trees can kill the grass immediately around the trunk and out to the dripline of the tree. However, this effect is not due to acidification. Rather, the shallow roots of some maple trees species rob the grass of moisture and nutrients while the thick canopy of leaves shades the grass from the sun.

Read the rest of this post to learn the details of how maple trees and lawn grass interact. We also discuss the details of how maple trees affect soil pH. In addition, we discuss how to grow grass around difficult maple trees as well as the answers to some related questions. 

When Maple Trees Kill Grass

Some maple trees exhibit growth patterns that include very shallow roots and a very thick canopy. When present, the shallow roots not only have far-reaching roots but also small hairlike roots that rise all the way to the surface. It is partially this all-out rooting strategy that allows the canopies of maple trees to grow abundant leaves that blot out the sun.


These growth patterns mean that when these types of maple trees are healthy, the grass around their base cannot get the water, nutrients, and sun they need to thrive. Common maple tree species that kill grass include Norway Maple Trees and Silver Maple Trees. 

In addition to the shallow roots and large canopy, maple trees can hinder the growth of grass in another way. Namely, if the fall blowdown of leaves is left to sit on the ground, it will smother the grass, eventually killing it.

Before planting a maple tree on your lawn, take the time to research the specific maple tree species and its root growth patterns. This research might require internet searches, calls to your local extension office, and/or visits to a local plant nursery. It is likely that you will find information documenting how your specific tree interacts with grass. Make sure to choose a tree species that grows well with lawns.

Do maple trees kill other plants?

In addition to grass, the process described above also allows maple trees to outcompete and kill other plants. If grass cannot get the proper nutrients, water, and sun, it is unlikely that other types of small plants will be able to thrive.

That being said, there are a few plants that are reported to be able to survive even under a very large and healthy maple tree. These include monkey grass and early season bulb flowers such as crocuses. The crocuses are able to grow because they sprout before the maple tree has fully leafed out. This seasonality allows these beautiful spring flowers the sun that they need.

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Finally, it is possible to place potted plants under a maple tree. The pots isolate the soil from the maple tree roots. However, the maple tree canopy will still shade the plants in the summer. To account for this, be sure to choose shade-tolerant plants and to fertilize and water as recommended for the plant.

Do maple trees make the ground acidic?

Soil pH is a measure of acidity. There is an old myth that the leaves of maple trees will cause soil to become more acidic. Instead, modern science has shown us that maple trees are only passive actors when it comes to soil acidity.

The belief that maple trees change soil acidity mainly stems from the acidic nature of maple leaves when they turn red, orange, or yellow in the fall season. The logic went that as the fall leaves decomposed they would add their acidity to the soil.

However, and as discussed in this article from Horticulture Magazine, the soil buffers the leaf acidity. In short, natural decomposition processes mean that even though the rotting material is acidic, the soil stays at the same pH.

The passive interaction between maple trees and soil acidity means that certain maples prefer specific acidity levels but do not change the level of the soil. In fact, slightly acidic soils to neutral soils are preferred by most maple trees. You can even change the color of your maple's fall foliage by changing the soil acidity. Read more about this phenomenon here in an article published by the Washington State University.

Will grass grow under a Japanese maple?

Japanese maples are unique for many reasons. For the lovers of lawns, the most important unique feature is their size. Japanese maples are most often much smaller than many of their larger maple cousins. For this reason, they are far more friendly to grass. This is because a small tree requires fewer nutrients and water than a larger tree.

Even though grass can grow under some Japanese maples, it is important to note that grass will always grow better in the absence of competition (and so will your tree). That is to say, all trees and grasses are interested in the same light, moisture, and nutrients but can sometimes coexist.

Do trees steal nutrients from grass?

As implied above, all trees steal nutrients from grass, not just maple trees. However, because of the different growth patterns and nutrient requirements of different species of trees. Some trees are far better suited to lawn landscapes than others.

How do you grow grass around a maple tree?

While there is no 100% effective way to grow grass under a maple tree, there are several steps you can take to help encourage your grass's growth. They include heavily seeding with grass seed each fall, thinning your maple tree's branches, adding mulch and/or topsoil around your maple tree, raking under your maple regularly, planting shade-tolerant grass, adding extra fertilizer, watering more often, and keeping the grass under your tree a bit longer.

To learn more about growing grass from Garden Tabs, read these two great articles: 11 Perennial Ryegrass Facts For Lawn Owners and What’s The Best Grass For Shade In Texas?

Overseed Each Fall

The best time to add grass seed is always in the fall before the weather really turns cold. This way, the seeds have a chance to work into the ground before they sprout the following spring. For areas under maple trees, seed heavily to overcompensate for the poorer growing conditions.

Thin Maple Tree Branches

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As discussed above, one of the main barriers to growing grass under a maple tree is the solid wall of shade a maple tree creates. By thinning the branches of your tree out, you can artificially allow more light the reach the ground. This light then helps your grass grow and can also provide an attractive dappled sunlight look.

Add Mulch and/or Topsoil

When trying to encourage grass to grow under a maple tree, many add mulch and/or topsoil to provide additional habitat for the grass to grow in. This strategy is effective but must be refreshed every year to every several years. While the grass may root first into the new soil, the maple tree roots will eventually take back over.

Rake Regularly

To encourage your grass to grow, take the time to regularly rake any leaves that fall from the tree. In addition, remove large branches and other blowdowns. These steps will help ensure that the grass will not get needlessly smothered and will receive as much sunlight as possible.

Plant Shade-Tolerant Grasses

Different grass species thrive in different climates and environments. However, it is always smart to plant shade-tolerant grasses under maple trees. This means that the grass has a better chance of getting the sun it needs to thrive. An example of a shade-tolerant grass species is Fine Fescue.

Fertilize More Often

Since your maple tree and your grass are both using the same limited amount of nutrients, adding more fertilizer can alleviate the competition. It is recommended that you add fertilizer specifically designed for your grass. Even if you are fertilizing your whole lawn, add extra under your maple trees.

Click here for grass fertilizer from Amazon.

In addition to fertilizer, adding compost under your maple trees may also help your grass grow. The compost adds beneficial nutrients and microorganisms. Those microorganisms help break down the compounds in the soil which makes it easier for your grass to take the nutrients it needs up.

Water More Often

Just like with fertilizer, if you water under your maple tree more often, there is a higher chance that your grass will be able to get enough water to survive. Be careful, overwatering the area will turn your yard into a mudpuddle which will also be bad for your lawn.

In Closing

In this post, we answered the question of whether the grass will grow under maple trees and whether maple trees make the soil acidic. We also answer a few related questions and provide a handy list of ways to help the grass grow under maple trees. Good luck!

Lawn under the trees - will it grow

  1. .Pros and cons of growing a lawn
  2. .Why the lawn does not grow well under the trees
  3. .How to keep the lawn next to the trees

Luscious grass, trees and shrubs look great, especially if they grow together and harmonize with each other. But the real state of affairs shows that the lawn under the trees grows poorly, leaving "bald" trunk circles. This article explains how to grow a full-fledged grass cover and the rest of the plants on it.

Pros and cons of growing a lawn

Many gardeners behind the external beauty and aesthetics of lawn grass do not see all the advantages and disadvantages of this plant. But you need to get to know them in advance in order to understand whether it is worth planting a lawn and how to do it.


  • Fruits acquire a juicy taste and bright color, are filled with a large amount of vitamins and microelements. Berries and fruits grown on a lawn are resistant to external negative influences: bumps, scratches, pests, etc.
  • The level of humidity in the ground increases, which favorably affects the vital activity of plants located nearby. It also makes it easier for people to breathe in the garden.
  • Soil sown with lawn grass dries out faster in spring and after heavy rainfall. This makes it possible to start gardening work earlier.
  • The earth with a lawn does not need to be dug up and loosened. Due to the grass carpet, the soil passes air and moisture, which prevents the formation of wind and water erosion.
  • In winter, the lawn keeps the snow in the root system, thereby warming it. And in summer, juicy grass saves the soil from overheating.
  • In the land on which grass is planted, biological processes are more actively carried out. The roots of plants attract nutrients from the lower layers of the soil, which saturate the trees and shrubs growing nearby.
  • Earthworms intensively multiply in unloosified soil, which contribute to soil fertility.


  • Lawn plants compete with trees and shrubs for food and moisture.
  • The presence and development of lawn seeds in the soil contributes to the shortening of the roots lying on the surface. This is fraught with frostbite of the root system in the cold season.
  • In the first 2-3 years after planting, trees and shrubs located on the lawn grow slowly and later begin to bear fruit.
  • Lawn grass provokes active reproduction of parasitic insects and diseases in plants.
  • In lawn-sown gardens, regular spraying should be carried out against pests and fungal infections, as they multiply faster in dense grass.

Why does the lawn grow poorly under trees

Many gardeners notice that immediately after sowing the lawn mixture, the grass sprouts quickly, but after 3-5 days it fades and dries up. That is, the lawn under the trees is dying for unknown reasons. In fact, the ongoing processes have their own explanation.

There are several factors that affect poor grass growth:

  • The lawn suffers from a lack of sunlight, because the crowns of the trees do not let it through.
  • During and after rain, drops falling from foliage soak and spoil the fertile soil layer on the surface. At the same time, the root system of the lawn also suffers.
  • Shading and high humidity provoke the growth of moss and the formation of mold, which adversely affects the grass.
  • Sowing meadow seeds as a lawn is unacceptable because these plants are not suitable for growing in the shade.

There are varieties of lawn grass that prefer lighted areas, and there are those that love shade. Therefore, when buying, it is worth choosing seeds, focusing on the existing conditions in the garden.

Most often, too much shading causes the extinction and death of a light-loving lawn. The grass stretches, weakens, turns pale and turns yellow. Lawn growth slows down, bald spots and fungal infections form on it. The grass carpet takes on a casual look. And large raindrops falling from the foliage of trees knock out holes in the ground, causing the grass to die.

How to keep the lawn next to the trees

Despite the complexity, it is still possible to grow an aesthetic lawn under trees and shrubs. To do this, you need to follow the rules for caring for the grass. 1. Select shade-tolerant herbs. Fescue or bluegrass will do. By purchasing such varieties, you can protect yourself from the death of plants due to lack of sunlight.

2. Choosing the right place. In deep shade, even a suitable variety of lawn should not be sown. If possible, choose the brightest place.

3. Making a near-trunk circle. These areas next to the trees are best sown with shade-loving plants that are similar to the lawn in appearance or look harmonious with it. For example, lilies of the valley.

4. Frequency of cutting. Shade-loving grass should be cut no more than once a month, keeping a height of 6-7 cm.

5. Aeration. For a shady lawn, the procedure should be carried out more often than for grass in a sunny place. Dark areas in the garden swamp faster due to the abundance of moisture. Therefore, 2-3 times a month, you should pierce the lawn, using a garden pitchfork for this purpose.

6. Delicate top dressing. A shade-loving lawn cannot be fertilized by everyone. Nitrogen top dressings are especially dangerous, because of which the grass will quickly age. But the drug Purshat-M for the lawn is suitable.

7. Watering. If you nevertheless planted plants in the zone of the near-stem circle, then they should be watered less and less often than grass growing in sunny places. Water in the morning.

8. Planting trees on the lawn. If grass was planted first, and now it is planned to plant trees or shrubs on it, then it is worth giving preference to varieties with small foliage and a rare crown.

9. The composition of the grass mixture. It makes sense to choose a mixture that contains shade-tolerant varieties of herbs. So the lawn will be more stable in growth in conditions of lack of light. The average life of the lawn is 15 years, but with proper care, the life of a grass carpet can be extended.

Maple planting and care in the open field.

How to plant a maple on the site and how long does it grow?

Do you want a chic lawn on your property that your neighbors will envy? Give us a call and we'll find the right one for you. " Lawn yard on Leninsky". Our phones in Moscow: +7 (495) 294-80-80, +7 (919) 99-88-770 Write to What's App [email protected]

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Maple is one of the most beautiful representatives of the sapind family. Its pointed leaves served as another name for it - acer, which means sharp leaf in translation. There are many varieties of maple, it can be both woody and shrubby representative of the flora. The largest tree species can reach up to 40 meters in height, and shrubs up to 10 meters. This unique plant is interesting not only for the shape of its leaves, but also for its bright colors, flowers and amazing lionfish fruits.

"Maple is one of the most popular trees and is found in Europe, Asia and America. Gardeners love this plant for its vitality."

Beautiful crown creates shade. Maple thrives in nutritious soil and in open areas of your garden. But even in the shade, this plant can also grow and develop perfectly. The only thing that this unpretentious plant, excess moisture or swampy soil cannot survive. With proper care, maple will delight you for several years.

Before boarding, it is necessary to determine the place of disembarkation. The soil is best fertilized with organic fertilizers. Garden soil is also suitable. It is best to fertilize the soil based on the characteristics of your region and the variety of maple.

The basis of the mixture is three ingredients:
  • Humus mixed with peat compost (third)
  • Sod (half)
  • Sand or screenings

If groundwater is present, drainage must be made from building debris or sand.

The most suitable landing site will be an open area. After all, the trouble with all ornamental plants is the shadow, due to which many plants lose the brightness of the color of the foliage. Landing is best done in spring and autumn. The distance between seedlings should be at least 3 meters. If you plan to plant a maple hedge, then the distance between plants should be no more than 2 meters. The roots of seedlings must be kept in water for a certain amount of time.


Spread the fertilizer in the prepared planting hole, 50 cm deep. It is best to use mineral fertilizers. Spread 150 grams of fertilizer in each hole, then lower the root collar, but at ground level. We all know that the soil tends to sag, which is why it is recommended to plant seedlings 20 centimeters above ground level. This is most effective when planting an already mature tree. Next, we pulse the soil with a layer of 5 centimeters with peat and water it abundantly. One well requires up to 30 liters of water. If you did not feed the soil when planting, this can be done in the spring. It is recommended to use urea or potassium salt.

Fertilization and maintenance

It is recommended to fertilize the maple throughout the summer. Kemira is good for these purposes. One hundred grams of fertilizer per square meter. Also, maple does not like drought, therefore, on especially hot dry days of summer, we advise you to water it with a bucket of water once a week. New maple trees need to be watered more abundantly. In spring and autumn, you can water once a month.

It is recommended to regularly weed and loosen the soil around the tree. This will saturate the roots with moisture and oxygen.

Maple is an unpretentious plant, but it also needs care. Pruning old or diseased branches will allow the crown to grow even more and promote the emergence of new healthy branches.

With the onset of winter, at the first frost, it is most effective to remove annual shoots. This will allow the bark to recover on its own, young shoots will be able to get stronger and the tree will more easily survive the winter frosts. If mature trees winter well, then young trees are best wrapped around the roots with insulation.

There are three ways to propagate maple:
  • Seeds
  • Green cuttings
  • Inoculations

Such varieties of maple as Tatar, green-winged, holly and ash-leaved have high germination for two years. But there are seeds that need to be used this year.

Maples in nature, when their leaves fall, stratify themselves and also grow independently. But at home, it takes much more time. For example, green-winged maple requires about 120 days, holly-leaved 110, and ash-leaved only 40 days for stratification, subject to a constant temperature regime of 5 degrees.

Soak in hydrogen peroxide for about three days before sowing. After the seeds sprout, at the beginning of spring we plant them in the ground 4 cm into the ground and wait for germination for a couple of weeks.

During the first life the seedlings grow a little over 50 centimeters. They must be carefully weeded from weeds and loosen the soil.

Young plants, during periods of intense heat, are best protected from the sun under a canopy. And after 3 years, young maples can already be transplanted to the main place, where they will continue to grow.

Ornamental maple species are grafted. Grafting must be carried out with the same type of maple: bud or cutting. For example, a wild-growing stock of Norway maple is grafted with a decorative subspecies. A favorable time for grafting is the very beginning of spring, it is best to do this before the juices begin to move.

A beautiful lawn on your property is not a myth! Call us and we will advise which lawn grass mixture is suitable for your site. " Lawn yard on Leninsky". Our phones in Moscow: +7 (495) 294-80-80, +7 (919) 99-88-770 Write to What's App [email protected]

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