The Q&A Archives: Trailing Lantana Turning Brown & Dry

Question: Why are our trailing lantana leaves not very green and turning brown and dry?

Answer: When leaves brown around the edges in the desert, the problem is often salt burn. This is common in our area with low rainfall, alkaline soil and water high in salts. Browning usually occurs on the old leaves first. This excess salt accumulates in the leaf edges, where it kills the tissue and the leaf dries out and turns brown. It's important to water deeply, slowly and usually infrequently. At least once a month, water deeply enough to "leach" or push salts well below the root zone. Frequent, light "sprinklings" or short time spans with drip irrigation, allow salts to accumulate in the top layers of soil, where the roots are, which is bad news.

Similar symptoms occur when too much fertilizer has been applied. It's generally not advisable to fertilize landscape plants in our summer heat. Plant roots often "burn." Also, lantana is frost-tender, so if temperatures are cold enough there will be frost damage, i.e., brownish/black, crinkled leaves. Lantana usually comes back in the spring. I hope this information helps!

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