May 28, 2004
We have received several calls to the Iowa State University Plant Disease Clinic regarding shade trees that have suddenly dropped most of their newly-developed, green leaves. Hackberry trees seem especially prone to shedding their green leaves, although oak, hickory, and many other species also have been reported to drop green leaves this time of year.
Attempting to grow grass under large shade trees often is difficult and frustrating. Because of the poor growing conditions, lawns in shady areas are often little more than bare soil and a few weeds. Home gardeners may want to consider replacing the sparse turf with shade tolerant groundcovers. Several attractive groundcovers grow well in the shade. Most of these shade tolerant groundcovers require less maintenance than turfgrasses.