The Q&A Archives: Burning Bush - Leaves with yellow tips

Question: I am in Zone 5 and just planted a Dwarf Burning Bush in May. The plant is on my home's south side and receives sun basically all day. Other newly planted shrubs/trees/plants seem to be making it through the hot summer as long as they are watered regularly. However, the tips of the leaves on the burning bush are turning yellow. A few leaves suggest evidence of being eaten by small bugs, but most of the leaves on the plant just look wilted and have the yellow tips.
Other individuals have asked you questions about dying leaves on their burning bush and were told to dig down and check the roots for quality of watering. I need to do this. However, could there also be a bug issue or does this sound strictly like an over/under watering issue? Thank you.

Answer: Some plants take longer to establish than others so it's possible your burning bush is still struggling to establish its roots. While it is under stress, some leaves may yellow and drop but the plant should survive. You may even notice that the foliage turns color in mid-summer instead of waiting for fall weather. By next spring it should be fully adjusted and should behave normally. In the meantime, water deeply once each week. I don't think insects are a problem - first, because you don't see any, and second, most insects chew or suck the juices from the tissues and you would see yellowing on other parts of the leaves, not just on the tips. I would make a watering basin (or well) for the burning bush and flood the basin, allow it to drain, then flood it a second time. This method of watering concentrates moisture above the rootmass and allows it to trickle down and wet the entire root mass. Most landscape trees and shrubs need about one-inch of water per week. I'd water in this way once each week (twice if the weather is really hot). Given weekly moisture and a fair measure of patience, your burning bush should make a spectacular addition to your landscape. Enjoy!

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