The Q&A Archives: Wax Leaf Privet

Question: My wax leaf privets have developed brown spots on the leaves and the leaves seem droopy. Some of the other privets have dried up and died. Is this caused by over watering, under watering, or a fungus? I water every morning because the temperature here is very hot. The soil is clay like and does not drain well.

Answer: Brown spots on the leaves can indicate a fungal disease or it may simply be that the leaves got wet and hot sunshine was magnified through the droplets of water and burned the tissues. Even though your weather has been hot, it usually is not necessary to water every single day. If you keep the soil too moist (and clay soil can remain wet for a long time), you can drive the oxygen out of the root zone and the roots can suffocate. It would be better for your privets if you watered deeply once or twice each week, allowing the top inch or two of soil to dry out between waterings. You can prune away the dead parts of your privets. Hopefully the roots are strong enough to replace this lost growth. In the meantime, water deeply only once or twice a week rather than daily and your plants should perk up. Hope so!

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