My front yard faces south and gets full sun all day long with no shade whatsoever and always seems to do fine. My back yard is another story. It is not deep (about 25 or 30 feet from back door to property line) and is in the shadow of the house for a good part of the day. The periphery is ringed with large oak and mulberry trees that have a large canopy. I have tried repeatedly to establish grass there and failed (one part of the yard that does get sunlight does much better). The backyard was 100% ivy when we bought the house. I have fertilized and aerated and not much happens. The bare ground gets rock hard as the season progresses.

I covered one corner with mulch in frustration and made a kids' play area, and utilized the relatively sunny area for a vegetable garden but don't want to give up the whole yard. We don't have money to get a tree surgeon, but is there anything else we can do to plan for springtime?