What Is A Tree Lawn?
Let’s first define what a tree lawn is, as this is not the only term people use for this space, especially in Ohio! Those in the Akron area frequently call the grassy area between the sidewalk and the road, a “devil’s strip.” Others say it’s the road berm, curb strip, a snow shelf, the curb lawn, the nature strip, a city easement, parking strip, planting strip, the parkway, an extension lawn, or the sidewalk buffer. In England, Australia, South Africa, and New Zealand, they call it the road verge. There are a lot of names for this common area but we are just going to mostly use the term “tree lawn” here. Frequently, this spot is planted with shade trees to cool the neighborhood and act as a buffer between the parallel street with cars and the sidewalk with pedestrians. Sometimes shrubs or gardens are also planted in the tree lawn, however tall shrubs are not recommended, as it impedes visibility when cars are exiting driveways or people are using the sidewalk. Most often, tree lawns don’t have any trees, just grass. Tree lawns are a very difficult part of the yard to keep looking nice, but we’ve got ideas to help you out!
What Causes Tree Lawn Damage?
Tree lawns get really beat up! They are easily damaged by snow plows and road salt. These spots are often accidentally driven upon or parked on, and therefore, can have ruts or Compacted Soil. Road berms frequently have hot edges due to adjacent impervious concrete and blacktop and so the grass is not as green on the borders. Additionally, in many neighborhoods, dog walkers let their canines use tree lawns as a bathroom, since these areas feel like public space – even though they’re not and you are expected to maintain them.
What Is Tree Lawn Damage?
Because of all the abuse they see, tree lawns are frequently damaged. Road salt spray can damage soil microbial life and make it more difficult for grass to grow, while making the area more suited for salt tolerant weeds, like Crabgrass. Dog damage includes dead areas where dogs relieve themselves, adding more salt to the soil, often in the same place over and over again. Replanting grass can sometimes be hard if your hose doesn’t reach that far, so it doesn’t always stick. Crabgrass, Thistles, Annual Bluegrass, and other weeds happily move into this damaged and neglected section of yard.
How To Get Rid Of And Prevent Tree Lawn Damage?
There are many methods to bring your tree lawn back to life. If a big problem you see is cars parking or driving on your tree lawn, place a few large rocks to deter road dwellers. You may want to choose a light colored rock or even paint them white so they are more visible. If you are getting snow plow damage, place erect colorful sticks, like those in driveways during the Winter, along the edge of the road so plows know to stay off. Also, put up a small sign that tells your neighbors not to let their dogs use your tree lawn as a bathroom. Now is the time to decide if you really need grass in this area at all. Can you plant a few low growing shrubs with mulch instead? What about installing pavers or bricks? If you have trees in your tree lawn, you might consider mulching the entire area instead of maintaining grass.
If you do want to replant grass, before planting anything, be sure to first smooth out the soil as best you can. Additionally, aerate this area to add oxygen to the soil and reduce compaction. We do recommend our Tuff Turf Seed Blend and a mix 50% Microclover if you do want grass here. Both Tuff Turf and Microclover can take some heavy foot traffic and the occasional weight of a car. Also, commit daily to watering for the first week after planting your new grass. You may need to use a watering can which will require more time but the restored grass will be worth it!
Additionally, Good Nature Organic Lawn Care is happy to assess the area to help with your needs. Our trained Organic Lawn Care Technicians are here to discuss any issues with you during our scheduled treatments. We can even stop by your home for a quick assessment and quote.