The Q&A Archives: oleanders getting yellow leaves

Question: I planted some oleanders two weeks ago and now the leaves on most of them are turning yellow starting at the bottom and moving up. Some are not showing anything. I'm not sure what I'm doing wrong. When I planted them I used Sta-Green Nursery Blend Tree & Shrub planting mix. I laid cedar mulch around them and I have been watering them every other evening after the sun sets. The weather here has been in the 90's and mainly sunny. The planting mix has a time release fertilizer. Could I be over or under watering? Or is there some other possible cause. Any answers would be greatly appreciated. Thanks

Answer: It sounds like transplant stress, coupled with too much water. Whenever you plant in the mid-summer heat, you'll have to expect the plants to look stressed for a few weeks. Once their root systems become established they will perk up and replace those lost leaves. Most landscape trees and shrubs need about an inch of water per week, applied slowly so the water penetrates deeply. This will encourage deep rooting which will help your plants endure hot summer weather. When you water frequently you keep the soil too moist, which drives out the oxygen. Plant roots need oxygen as well as moisture; without oxygen they will suffocate. My advise is to water thoroughly and then wait 3-4 days. Check the soil moisture by digging down near the roots of your plant. If soil is still moist 2" below the surface, you won't need to water for a few more days; if it is dry 2" below the surface, it's time to water. By adjusting your watering practices, your oleanders should regain their health in a few short weeks.

Best wishes with your oleanders.

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