Trees and Lawn

Does there have to be competition? Are we able to have both healthy trees and a healthy lawn in our yard? The answer can be yes for several reasons. Both turf and trees provide these environmental benefits:
  • Change carbon dioxide into oxygen
  • Cool the air by changing water into water vapor
  • Trap air polluting gases
  • Help to control erosion
  • Stabilize dust particles
And, of course, both are attractive and desirable in our yards. Then, how do we get them to coexist? Grass generally likes a lot of sun. Trees produce shade, so grass under trees usually won’t work well for the grass. It also doesn’t work well for the trees, interfering with root growth, and often leading to damage from mowing equipment. An easy solution can be to place mulch around trees.

Mulch has the added advantages of retaining soil moisture, reducing weeds, protecting the trunk of the tree, improving soil structure and, of course, it can be quite attractive. Spread a 2-4 inch layer of mulch to the drip line of the tree. It is important to keep the mulch from touching the tree trunk.

Excessive fertilization of either the grass or the trees can cause excess and unintended growth. Additionally, herbicides or weed killers used on lawn can be very dangerous to trees. Be sure to read the product labels carefully before applying any and watch for those that warn against use “near trees”.

Trees require the equivalent of one inch of rain every 7-10 days. Frequent and shallow watering is harmful to both the trees and the grass.

To help develop healthy grass, when mowing cut off no more than 1/3 of the grass’ blade height, and it’s best to leave the clippings on the lawn. This will help to keep your lawn healthy and strong.

Additional Resources