As we enter the spring season, we wanted to provide an update on the condition of lawns in the area. After last summer’s drought, we were cautiously optimistic about the recovery of lawns heading into the fall of 2022. However, we have observed extensive dead patches throughout the region this spring, and we wanted to share some information about what has caused this issue.

The mild winter that we experienced did not provide the necessary snow cover to protect lawns that were already stressed going into dormancy last fall. As a result, winter winds dessicated or stripped moisture from not just lawns, but also trees and shrubs, leading to further stress and damage. This caused already stressed turf or trees to succumb to the stress caused by the drought and die. This is the reason for the dead patches of lawns we are seeing, as well as the struggle for large established evergreens and flowering trees and shrubs to bloom.

In addition to being unsightly, these bare patches have become a breeding ground for weeds. We want to assure you that we are actively combatting weeds with each treatment we do, and we will continue to battle them throughout the season. However, we must stress that this will be a tough year for weeds, and the best defense against them is a thick lawn. If your lawn has dead patches, it is vital to fill them in for the long-term health of your lawn. We recommend doing so with a fall aeration/overseed or even slice seed. While that may seem far off, we advise against seeding late in the spring because summer heat is right around the corner.

Click here to watch a brief video on the after effects of the drought.

We understand that the stress caused by the drought has also impacted trees and shrubs. If you notice any signs of stress, such as the cherry in the video, we still have a window to get a Deep Root Fertilizer application into the soil to help them recover. We will also have another opportunity to fertilize these struggling trees and shrubs coming out of the summer.  Cicoria Tree has this info to add: “Many of you have called with questions about trees with stunted or weak leaves, no flowers or overall decline. Japanese maples, flowering pears, arborvitae, weeping cherries, forsythia and other species appear to be suffering from leaf and flower bud injury. Due to last summer’s drought and this past winter’s extreme and precipitous temperature changes plant damage has been extensive.”

In many instances the best course of action might be to take a wait-and-see approach. Most plants have dormant buds they can call on to replace the dead or damaged portions. Many times sprouts will form on branches that appear dead, so keeping the pruning or removal tools at bay for awhile could be a winning strategy.

If you have any questions or concerns about what is going on with your lawn or landscape, please do not hesitate to give us a call. We would be happy to offer some advice.