Trees and turfgrass both play vital roles in healthy landscapes. They beautify and enrich home lawns, increasing curb appeal and property values. They create a safe, accessible space for family entertainment. And they encourage ecological health by conserving home energy, purifying the air of toxins, and reducing runoff and erosion. Separately, trees and grass make homes and businesses more efficient, more sustainable, and more welcoming; however, plant diversity often causes trouble in the landscape.
Drawbacks of Coexisting Trees and Turfgrass
When landscapers plant trees in yards with established sod, the trees and turfgrass compete for nutrients, water, and light. This natural competition stifles the development of sturdy, expansive root systems for both plants. The turfgrass must also fight for sunlight under expansive canopies of mature trees. Inexperienced landscapers often wind up designing lawns with stunted trees and thin, withering sod.
Planting Trees and Turfgrass in Harmony
It is possible to create a landscape where both trees and turfgrass thrive. If you’re starting from scratch, choose a turfgrass variety like TifGrand bermudagrass that can survive both heavy sunlight and partial shade. Pick a tree variety with a limited or high canopy that burrows its roots deep in the soil. Do not plant grass near the trunk of the tree. Instead, reduce the competition for water and nutrients by leaving a few feet of bare ground between the base of the tree and your lawn. Improve your aesthetics and provide protection to your tree’s roots by mulching the area beneath the tree. When using fertilizer, pesticide, or insecticide on either trees or turf, make certain to use products that won’t negatively affect other plants.
With the proper planning, you can create a healthy green landscape where trees and turfgrass peacefully coexist. Call NG Turf for more information on shade tolerant turfgrass varieties.