Lawn, shrubs and trees dying

Asked April 16, 2018, 9:46 AM EDT

Our flowering trees and bushes seem to be dead. The once beautiful holly tree is losing leaves.The ornamental grass is not experiencing new growth. The lawn grass is dying and, in some areas, dead. This dying grass problem is spreading across my yard and into my neighbor's yard. Can someone come, ASAP,and test the soil to see if this is a problem that can be reversed?

Baltimore County Maryland

1 Response

We do not make site visits to test soil. You can have your soil tested by mailing a sample to a regional soil testing lab. Here are links to information on our website. You can learn how to take a soil sample and a list of labs is provided.

A soil test will give you information about your pH, nutrients, and organic matter. Indicate what you want to grow and the lab will make recommendations for you when they send your results. Submit separate samples for different areas (lawns, ornamental shrub garden, etc.).

Many shrubs (hollies included) are showing moderate winter damage this year. This could be what has caused some of the issues you're seeing with your plants. Read more about winter damage here: We'd be happy to take a look at photos of your plants to confirm whether it is winter damage or something else.

Many plants are getting a slow start this year, too, due to the prolonged cold temperatures. Some plants just need more warmth to pick up their growth. Be patient and see if new growth develops as we get warmer weather.

For lawn care, again, the soil test is the best place to start. Lawn needs a soil pH of 6-6.5 and organic matter between 2-5% in order to grow well. Please read our publication on lawn establishment and renovation for recommendations on how to renovate an existing lawn. There is still time this spring to overseed bare spots.