The Q&A Archives: Yellow leaves on Arbutus unedo dwarf

Question: An Arbutus unedo dwarf that I planted about two months ago seemed to be doing fine until a couple of weeks ago, when its leaves began to turn yellow. All but the top 6 inches of leaves are now yellow. I applied a couple of tablespoons of Osmocote when I planted it. Soil was moist but not soggy, and recently, we found that the sprinkler closest to it had not been operating for a while. Watering has now returned to normal, but it seems to be getting worse. How can I save it?

Answer: Arbutus unedo requires well-draining soils and prefers infrequent, deep soakings. Yellowing leaves this time of year indicate some stress - either too much or too little water. It's likely you'll see more yellowing before the plant gets over the unintentional drought it experienced. While it's recovering, try setting the sprinkler so it provides a deep soaking once a week rather than daily shallow sprinklings. This will encourage the development of a deep root system, which will allow the plant to survive droughty conditions if they happen again.

Best wishes with your landscape!

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