Spring comes to life in stages. Every year, we get several calls about “dead plants” regarding plants that are naturally late coming to life. Warm season perennials, grasses, and late budding trees take their time waking up from their long winter nap. These plants have evolved to leaf out late. Warm season plants are sensitive to frost and have evolved to stay dormant well after the danger of frost has passed. Native grasses, certain perennials, Oak trees, Coffee Trees, Sycamore, Plane Trees, Hibiscus, Beautyberry, coreopsis are just a few of the plants that are sensitive to frost. These plants and others have evolved a natural defense against frost damage, they wait until ground temperatures are very warm and come to life well after the danger of frost has passed. Some emerge as late as early June. Give your plants time. What looks like a dead lump of grass in early May will most likely be a full thriving plant by mid July. Three weeks of 80 degree temps and sunshine is all that these warm season plants need. Once it is warm, they grow fast making up for lost time in the cool spring.
Give mother nature some patience with warm season plants, and in the meantime plant some spring blooming trees, shrubs and perennials such as Flowering Crab, Korean Spice Viburnum, and perennials such as Dianthus, Catmint, and Bergenia.