The Q&A Archives: Brown Leaves on Weigela

Question: I just planted some Weigela Variegated shrubs this past week and already they are getting brown leaves. I water them daily because of the heat that we are having and they are in a well drained area. I used "Miracle Grow" only once to help in their newly transplanted home. What could be the problem?

Answer: There are several possible reasons for this to be happening, but the most common would be either overwatering or underwatering. Although you have been watering every day, it is possible that the water has not penetrated the root ball. Sometimes the potting soil is very difficult to rewet if it has been allowed to dry out. It will also take some time for the roots to spread into the surrounding soil. Use your finger to test the soil near the base of the plant about an inch down to see if it is moist. A slow, deep watering about twice a week is better than a daily light sprinkling. Also, a daily light sprinkling, especially if done in the evening so it keeps the foliage moist longer, can contribute to foliar problems. Finally, you may be overwatering the plant. The soil should be moist but not sopping dripping wet with standing water. (The reason for this is that plant roots need air as well as moisture.) A few inches of organic mulch spread around the plant (but not touching the bark) is also a good idea as it will help maintain soil moisture and temperature as well as hold down weeds. If you fertilize the shrub, be sure to read and follow the label instructions carefully; however, your shrub needs time to establish itself in the new location before you can expect it to grow at full speed. Most plants suffer a certain amount of transplant shock when planted during hot weather so keep an eye on the watering and give it a little time to adjust. Good luck with your shrub!

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