Tree pruning could be the answer to treating your thin lawn. If your yard has suffered damage due to drought, insects or disease — or if just need to fill in thin/bare areas — you may be considering overseeding your lawn this month. One of the biggest culprits of a thin lawn is often too much shade. Grass doesn’t grow in the forest and you’ll find this is also true for the turf under the trees at your home. How much quality light your lawn is exposed to daily is one of, if not the most important factors relating to turf growth and performance. Learn how to prune a tree and how these five ways tree pruning can help more light reach your lawn. Your Ryan Lawn & Tree Pro can help determine which technique best suits your needs.
In most cases, by eliminating lower large branches, you almost instantly increase sun exposure to the turf below. Often this option will give homeowners the biggest bang for their buck. Large low limbs are no problem in parks or open fields, but are not the best in an urban setting. They can block sightlines and be difficult to mow or walk under while also shading the ground below. It is best to remove dead or live low limbs when trees are small to medium-sized. If the tree is mature, these limbs might need to be removed in phases or reduced in length to help prevent large wounds that might lead to decay in the future.
Selectively removing branches from a tree can create pockets of light, allowing more filtered sunlight to reach the turf. Arborists often use this technique when people have landscape plants that require shade, but they still desire a green lawn. Consistent pruning is necessary to maintain these pockets of light. You must take care not to thin out a tree too much. A good rule of thumb is to not remove more than one-third of the canopy at any one time. Also, avoid lions-tailing a tree — the practice of stripping most or all of its interior branches and foliage while only leaving growth at the end of tree branches.
If the canopies of trees or large shrubs are encroaching on or over turf, your RYAN Pro can properly prune them in a way that pulls them up and over the grass. Often by pulling the canopies of trees back, the lawn is exposed to more mid-day sun. For trees, this may mean reducing the overall length of a branch or branches back to an appropriate lateral. A good pruning technique is to look for a lateral that is at least one-third the diameter of the branch you are reducing. A branch this size will help slow the limb’s growth and maintain a more natural look of the tree while retaining enough foliage to sustain the branch moving forward. You can significantly reduce most large, overgrown shrubs. The benefit of doing this is two-fold, they will no longer be hanging over the turf blocking out light to the lawn, and they will be easier to maintain in the future.
Often the last resort, but if you desire a healthy stand of grass, there are times the only way you can achieve it is to remove trees. If you own a property with many trees, selective removal at the right time of year may be needed to create light pockets. Be sure to consult your lawn care professional or an arborist about developing a game plan that best suits your property. In conjunction with removing a tree or trees, grinding out the stump or stumps can best prepare your yard for seeding. Stumps can be a pain to mow around or simply be an eyesore. Plus, if the tree you’ve eliminated is shallow-rooted, removing surface roots is a must for a smooth, even seeding surface.
Tree roots and grass don’t play well together. If you want to keep your tree(s) but are fed up with seeding under them year after year or dealing with large surface roots, you can pursue other options. One of these options is to create mulch rings around them. The size of the mulch ring will vary depending on tree size or your personal preference. Mulch rings allow for better uptake of nutrients and moisture by the tree while protecting it against mechanical damage to the trunk from mowers and string trimmers. You can also incorporate trees into your existing beds and plant groundcover or shade-loving perennials of your choice.
No matter which of the options listed above may be the best benefit for your property, you’re going to have to act fast. The seeding window is limited, the time to prune is now, and RYAN’s tree care Pros are booking now. Proper tree pruning will certainly help ensure you get the most out of your fall lawn seeding investment. Get an estimate on your tree pruning project today by calling the Ryan Lawn & Tree Midwest location nearest you at 855.216.2293.