The Q&A Archives: Can you nurse a plant back from leaves burning up from underwatering?

Question: I have two topiaries on my front porch. Normally I water them every evening. I might have missed a day or two and one of them was nearly burned up. On one side it is still green. Is there anything I can do to nurse it back to health?

Answer: If you resume regular watering, the plant should be able to releaf -- although this depends to some extent on what specific kind of plant it is as some will recover better than others. In the meantime, you could trim off any truly dead twigs or branches. To check that, begin at the branch tip and check for live wood. Live wood has green inside the bark while dead wood is brittle and off color gray or brown with no green inside. You might also check the plant for pest or disease problem, as this might also account for it drying on one side only. I hope it comes back for you!

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