The Q&A Archives: Hong Kong Orchid

Question: Leaves of my 3 year old (6-8 feet) Hong Kong Orchid tree gradually turn yellow and then brown and then fall off. I deep water it and feed it with 15-15-15 fertilizer. It has not been flowering the past two months. The tree is planted next to the front lawn. Can the over spray of the lawn water hurt the tree? Last year this tree was doing fine with flowers. The only change this year is the watering schedule of the front lawn. This watering schedule is controlled by a weather based sprinkler controller which helps to save water and keep the lawn green. But the Hong Kong Orchid seems to have problems. Can you help me to save this Hong Kong Orchid? I love this tree very much. Thamks.

albert chiu

Answer: Yellowing leaves usually indicate root distress. I wonder if your new sprinkler system is supplying more water than the tree was getting before? If the soil is kept too moist, it will drive out oxygen and the roots will suffocate. I can't recommend anything other than turning off the sprinkler system and going back to your old way of watering. If you notice a change in your tree later in the summer, then the sprinkler system is causing the problems. You may have to move your tree to keep it healthy. Best wishes with your landscape!

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