Ask a Question forum: Hardy shrub (Euonymus) leaves dropping heavily

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Name: D
London, UK
didacus
Oct 24, 2015 4:20 PM CST
I hope someone can help me.

All of the sudden my Euonymus started losing leafs. The leafs that are dropping looks healthy and there is no apparent sign of infestation. The plant was outside on my balcony and was thriving during the summer months. Now the temperature has started to drop (17 - 9 degrees throughout the day) so I decided to move the plant indoors to see if there is any improvement but so far I can see none. I have also noticed that the leafs on the branches are sort of arching down, like its missing water or something.

Any idea of what might be causing this?

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Name: Elaine
South Sarasota, Florida (Zone 9b)
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dyzzypyxxy
Oct 25, 2015 7:46 AM CST
I think I would try sliding the plant out of the pot and take a look at the root ball. Two things might be happening, either too much water (is the bottom of the plant sitting in water?) or the potting mix has dried out too much and the water you are putting in is not being absorbed.

If you find a hard, dry root ball when you slide the plant out, you will need to gently loosen up the dry soil by kneading the lump a bit - but try not to break roots! Then put it in a bucket of room temp water and let it soak until it is good and moist again.

If the root ball is soggy, set it on an old, folded cotton towel and let the towel absorb the water from the root ball for a few hours or over night, then don't water until the top of the soil feels dry to the touch - dig your finger in a half inch or so.

Then you also might want to consider re-potting to a larger pot, if the roots are filling up the old pot. Depending where you are in the country, a clay pot might be a better container for that plant than the glazed ceramic one you have, since clay 'breathes' somewhat. But, not if you live in a place with relatively low humidity.
Elaine

"Success is stumbling from failure to failure with no loss of enthusiasm." –Winston Churchill
Name: Sue
Ontario, Canada (Zone 4a)
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sooby
Oct 25, 2015 3:03 PM CST
Welcome!

Are you in the United States? Just trying to figure out if your temperatures are in degrees F or C. What did the temperature actually drop down to, was there any frost? Is this Euonymus fortuneii?

In addition to the things Elaine said to check, can you look at the undersides of the fallen, and still attached but droopy, leaves with a magnifying lens for spider mites. I notice some of the leaves at the branch tips look a little distorted and cupped, so just want to eliminate a potential pest problem (they can be hard to see - look also for webbing and eggs).
Name: D
London, UK
didacus
Oct 26, 2015 2:19 AM CST
Thank you very much. I will look into both suggestions and report back.
Name: D
London, UK
didacus
Oct 26, 2015 1:32 PM CST
Hi all,

@Elaine, you're right. The roots where dry and not absorbing water. I have taken the plant out and as you advised I am leaving it overnight on a bucket with water. How much water should this bucket have? Only enough to soak the bottom?

Sooby, I check once more the leafs and they seems fine :D

I will keep you guys posted.

Thank you again.
Name: Elaine
South Sarasota, Florida (Zone 9b)
The one constant in life is change
Cat Lover Master Gardener: Florida Tropicals Multi-Region Gardener Vegetable Grower Region: Florida
Herbs Orchids Birds Garden Ideas: Level 2 Garden Sages Celebrating Gardening: 2015
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dyzzypyxxy
Oct 26, 2015 2:20 PM CST
Just enough water to completely immerse the root ball. You might get your hands in there and 'work' the root ball a little bit to break up the dry clods of soil, too. Once potting soil gets really dry it's pretty hard to wet it again without some agitation.

You might check it before you go to bed, and if it's nice and saturated, (heavy when you lift it) then you can slip it back in the pot. You don't have to soak it over night. Too much water is just as bad as too little. The roots drown without air . . .

If you let us know where in the world you are located, it will help us to advise you going forward. Just put your city and state/province or country in your personal profile and it will show up at the upper right corner of all your posts.
Elaine

"Success is stumbling from failure to failure with no loss of enthusiasm." –Winston Churchill
Name: D
London, UK
didacus
Oct 26, 2015 2:39 PM CST
Thank you for the tips.

I am sorry for the lack of information, I am new to the site so I haven't spent time adding my information yet. I am based in London, UK.

- D

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