The Q&A Archives: Old & New Leaf Growth Turning Yellow With Some Small Brown Spotting

Question: We planted 6 Waxleaf Privet "Texanum" shrubs Oct. 2001. 2/6 shrubs have yellowing leaves, foilage thin, and some brown spotting. Shrubs are in full sun and watered about once or twice per week (depends on the temperature). We cannot locate anyone who can tell us if this is a disease or a pest problem. Can you help?

Answer: Privet is generally disease and insect pest free, so I wonder if the yellowing leaves and spindly growth indicate a problem with the roots. Since privet is an evergreen, it's natural for some of the older leaves to turn yellow and fall off, but it's not normal for the entire shrub to have yellowing leaves. Thin, spindly growth can indicate poor soil - try feeding with an all-purpose liquid fertilizer diluted to label recommendations. Poor growth might also indicate a need for more frequent watering, or it could indicate poor drainage. If you take a sample of the affected foliage to your local Cooperative Extension Service, they should be able to positively diagnose the problem for you. Contact OSU Extension at 503-588-5301. Good luck with your privets!

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