Tree lost it leaves and grass not growing

Asked September 27, 2016, 4:13 PM EDT

The only tree in my front yard has lost leaves on its one side and the grass underneath has also died. I have a regular true green service. they have over seeded the grass again but don't have any service for trees. I live just behind the piney meeting rd quarry and the ground is very solid. I have lived in this house for 10 years but never had this problem. Please help.

Montgomery County Maryland trees ornamental plum lawn sand cherry dieback on ornamental fruit tree

1 Response

We are guessing your tree is a purple leaf plum or a sand cherry.
These are both ornamental fruit trees that bloom small whitish flowers in the spring.
Unfortunately ornamental fruit trees are not long-lived, and can commonly have multiple problems with pests and diseases in our area. As with any tree, they can also slowly decline and die from other factors too.
We think your tree looks like it is in decline.
It's hard to see, but it looks like the tree is planted too deeply or that mulch is covering the natural flare where the trunk widens before going into the ground. This can kill a tree over time.
Did the tree leaf out completely in the spring, or was it thinning then too? Any dead or dying wood can be pruned out right now. What is left may or may not be attractive enough to you and you may want to start over with a new tree.
Here is a guide that helps you to decide when to remove a tree:
Here is our IPM: Ornamental Fruit Tree publication:

The 'Trees and Shrubs' portion of our website has much information that can help you, so consider checking it out.
As for your lawn, is your lawn company doing a soil test? (They are supposed to by law). Grass has trouble growing well in the shade, so that could be part of the problem. A fine fescue seed mix does better when lacking full sun, but can't take much foot traffic.