What type of grass should I grow beneath this oak?

What type of grass will grow under a 30 year old oak tree that gets light morning sun?
Front of house. Has no curb appeal. Any suggestions would be appreciated.
  17 answers
  • Claire Shoemaker Claire Shoemaker on May 07, 2015
    It can be very difficult to grow grass in this particular environment. I would suggest planting a ground cover ivy. It can be easily contained from the other parts of the lawn and adds another element of dimension and interest
    • Kathy Ruth Kathy Ruth on May 07, 2015
      @Claire Shoemaker Some types of ivy are invasive and will damage the tree. She'd be better off with a ground cover that already grows in her area.
  • MaryAnn Winkelwoman MaryAnn Winkelwoman on May 07, 2015
    Hostas would look so great!
  • Lisa McDaniel Lisa McDaniel on May 07, 2015
    St Augustine would do well, but needs a lot of water which could get expensive if it's a big area like a whole yard.
  • Trisch Trisch on May 07, 2015
    Mondo grass is about the only thing that my Mom ever got to grow under her old oak tree. There is also a dwarf variety. It is an ornamental ground cover, though a little slow growing. She mowed it once every spring and it was good to go for the year. Pachysandra would likely do well also, but it is not a grass.
  • Panhandlelil1 Panhandlelil1 on May 07, 2015
    I Have the same problem with deep shade, in Waco, Tx. I have planted every kind of grass I can find. Even Canadian green, St. Augustine, Zoyia, but nothing will grow. Sounds like I will have to try a ground cover.
  • Shaza Lee Shaza Lee on May 07, 2015
    plant lily of the valley, or ivy. grass will not grow under an oak tree
  • Bonny McDaniel Bonny McDaniel on May 07, 2015
    I would suggest dichondra which loves the shade but I'm not sure whether it is OK under the oak with the tannin oils the tree has. However, my worry would be the amount of water dichondra needs which might not be good for the oak tree...consult a nursery or two and see what they recommend. In the West, we usually don't plant much around oaks as the cultivation of anything usually bothers the tree. I do think hosta would work but, again, it needs water and a rich soil.
  • Cynthia Nye Cynthia Nye on May 07, 2015
    Grass doesn't really like shade, perhaps a creeping low herb like thyme or because you are so hot, a spreading juniper? No need to mow!
  • Bill Croley Bill Croley on May 07, 2015
    You can't grow healthy grass under oak trees. You can use a lot of lime to neutralize the acidic leaves and perhaps get some grass but that is your only choice really.
  • Karen Bussberg Karen Bussberg on May 07, 2015
    Oak trees will die if they get too much water, and grass needs both sun and lots of water. Plant some draught tolerant plants around the outside of the drip line of the oak, and fill in under the tree with some pretty mulch.
    • Bonny McDaniel Bonny McDaniel on May 08, 2015
      @Karen Bussberg I'm with you, Karen. That is why I didn't like the idea of planting any grass, or anything that would take much water, under the oak tree. And the tannins in the leaves are deadly for many plants. As Bill Croley (above) said...you can't grow healthy grass under oak trees...and you can't keep the oak tree healthy, either. Recently I saw a picture in a garden magazine where someone had realized that problem and just put some flagstone and gravel mulch under their large oak tree. It kept the roots cool and protected without causing damage to the tree but was better than bare ground.
  • JoAnna Cooper JoAnna Cooper on May 08, 2015
    In your area you could use Tall Fescue grass seed under the tree. It requires water to get it started but you could back off on watering a lot after seed takes. Make sure you get tall fescue, not fine fescue. It can't take the heat in the South. Fine fescue is like Kentucky Blue grass, best grown in cooler climates. ALWAYS mow fescue high 4-5 inch cut. Leaving the height shades the roots below. This is one of the deepest darkest greens you'll ever see. Not a lot of problems with this grass either. BTW This is green year round.
  • Terry Terry on May 08, 2015
    aren't you worried about that large tree soooo close to your house. If not from storms, roots in the foundation? IF not hosta which dies back in winter, lenten rose, pachsandrya,
  • Beverly Cady Cabaday Beverly Cady Cabaday on May 08, 2015
    Have to agree with Terry. My first concern was about the foundation of the house...and like Terry said...Hostas. Easy to grow, love shade.
  • Marion Nesbitt Marion Nesbitt on May 09, 2015
    Anything except grass. Have a shade plant/creeper called Creeping Jenny - has little yellow flowers at times. There are two dif varieties - one is a darker green. Grows thick and low to the ground - will look like grass from a distance. No maintenance except to keep it from growing across the walkway. Will just need some water to get it started and occasionally for maintenance if a dry season.
  • Mark Mark on May 09, 2015
    We had a similar tree in the middle of our yard and we could never get grass to grow around it. It fell during a storm. After removal, the grass grew great in the same spot. I love these trees but I agree with the others about the dangers from the storms/roots/foundation. Have you considered a bench surrounding the tree?
  • Austin Dodson Austin Dodson on May 09, 2015
    Have it cut down. Use the stump for a cool picnk table make benches from the trunk.
  • Diane Diane on May 09, 2015
    grass will do poorly under the tree. You could try dicondra or other creeping style herbs.