The Q&A Archives: leaf tip burn and slow growth

Question: I have planted avocado, gardenia, guava, and granny smith apple. My question concerns post planting and the apparent suspension of growth for some time afterwards. Additionally I am seeing leaf tip burn, browning and some yellowing. I have been told our water supply along the coast here has a higher salinity and that is the cause of my problems. Can I combat this somehow?

Answer: You didn't tell us how long ago you planted your trees and shrubs, but in general, plants can take several weeks to establish and often a year before any new growth is detected. The leaf tip browning is nearly always due to overwatering, or planting in soils that do not drain well. While the high salt content in your water may affect plants, usually water percolates down through the soil, which catches the minerals and then delivers filtered water to the roots of your plants. If salt build up occurs, you will generally see a white coating on the soil surface or a white ring around a watering basin. You can flood the area to leach away the mineral build up. Most landscape trees and shrubs need about an inch of water per week and you can accomplish that by building a watering basin or berm around each plant. Build up a 4" ridge of soil, about 12" away from the plant, circling the plant. Fill the basin with water, allow to drain, then fill a second time. Once a week should do it. Hope this helps!

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