The Q&A Archives: Brown Leaves on Roses and Butterfly Bush

Question: My newly planted rose bush has brown leaf tips and does not look green and healthy at all, can you advise me what I may be doing wrong?

Also, my butterfly bush which is in the same place as last year looks like the leaves have had a blow torch taken to them, burning them half way throw.

Please help I do not want to lose either of these plants. I live in zone 9 and it has been windy and warm.

Answer: It certainly has been windy and warm in the low desert, too soon it seems this year! That is your likely problem. You didn't say if it was a bare-root rose or a container rose, but either way it is late to plant. Bare-root roses are transplanted in Dec-Feb in the low desert. Container roses are best planted in spring or fall. Transplant shock occurs under the best of conditions, and when it is hot and windy, it is made even worse. I'd suggest erecting a temporary shade structure/windbreak over your rose until it can establish. Apply a 4 to 6 inch layer of organic mulch around its base to maintain soil moisture and reduce soil temperatures. When you water, be sure it soaks down through the entire depth of the rootball, which will be about 2 feet deep. A soil probe will help you determine how far water has soaked. It moves easily through wet soil but stops when it hits hard soil. Leaves will transpire alot of moisture in this heat, and wind also contributes to moisture loss, so monitor soil moisture regularly.

A possible issue with the butterfly bush is salt burn. Desert soil and water both contain salts, which can accumulate in the root zone over time. This salt buildup forms where the water stops penetrating. Short periods of watering (like running drip for 20 minutes a few times a week) cause salts to build up in the top layers of soil and damage or kill your plant. Salt burn shows up as yellowing, browning along leaf edges, and leaf drop. Deep watering?or leaching?prevents this by flushing the salts past the root zone. Always water slowly, deeply and as infrequently as possible. Overwatering can cause root rot, which will also kill plants. Finally, crispy leaves can be a sign of overfertilizing and/ or not watering the product in well. I hope this info helps.

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