Ask a Question forum: Tree Philodendron

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Name: Glenn M
Pinellas County, Fl
GlennM97
Jun 12, 2016 7:23 PM CST
I don’t seem to have the best of luck with plant care. We bought our new house which included a variety of lush, healthy landscaping. I am starting to get concerned that our bad plant luck is catching up to us and I am searching for advice.

We have a large cluster (probably 30' wide X 15' deep X 7' tall) of what looks to be tree philodendron that appears to be deteriorating. We moved into this house 7 months ago and all was green and lush then. Now - not so much. The leaves are starting to have yellow/brown edges. We water 40 mins twice a weeks and some heads are under the canopy so I am sure the area is getting plenty of water coverage. This is on the north side of our house still but not a much relief from the sun. This seems to be a large stable cluster of plants that has been there many years. I believe our water schedule matches the previous owner’s too.

Do you have any ideas what might be causing this? Maybe this is normal. There is another cluster across the street in direct sun on the south face of that house that is very lush and green.

Also - are there any tips on trimming/pruning these. Not necessarily how to, but when and why would I need to, or will it help them?

Pictures are canopy, close up, and under canopy.

Thanks for any help you might be able to give.

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Name: Daisy
Reno, Nv (Zone 6b)
Not all who wander are lost
Garden Sages Plant Identifier
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DaisyI
Jun 12, 2016 8:09 PM CST
Welcome! to NGA

Can you update your info to reflect where you live? Its easier to help you when we know as much about the conditions as possible. But if you are on that water schedule, I suspect Southern California.

Philodendron like to be evenly moist but not soggy - if you are on the same watering schedule as the previous owners, water shouldn't be the problem unless the sprinklers aren't actually watering the shrubs. Have you checked to make sure the water is going where it should?

Did you fertilize recently? To me, it looks like fertilizer burn.

Daisy
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
Jun 12, 2016 8:18 PM CST
Hi Glenn, and welcome Welcome! As Daisy says we really need to know where in the country or world you are to help.

I have several of these tree philo's in my yard and they are entirely easy care. But mine are in the shade of a huge old oak tree, so moist, acid soil and dappled shade.

Question - what are the white things on the ground under the plant in your last picture? They look like shells. If somebody has mulched under those plants with shells that would not be a good situation for them - the shells leach calcium into the soil, changing the pH.

Also any information on other changes or maintenance that's been done to the landscape recently might give a clue to the problem. Especially fertilizer.
Elaine

"Success is stumbling from failure to failure with no loss of enthusiasm." –Winston Churchill
Name: Glenn M
Pinellas County, Fl
GlennM97
Jun 12, 2016 8:38 PM CST
Hey guys - I live in Pinellas County, Florida - central gulf coast. No fertilizers in the past seven months. The white ground cover is shell. It's been there for about 2 years and only really around the outer edge of the cluster. I have thought about getting under there and pulling out the dropped leaves just to make sure the water is getting to the ground. I would also check the sprinkler heads at the same time but i certainly hear them when on. It is thick and like a maze under there.

Just next to these plants is another plant that also seems to be struggling. I have no idea what it is. The leaves were large and green when we moved in. Now they almost look chewed. No visual evidence of pests. No other maintence for either plant other than a bit of weed pulling.

Could these issues be connected?

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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
Image
dyzzypyxxy
Jun 12, 2016 9:14 PM CST
Hi again, Glenn. I'm just south of you in Sarasota. The other plant next to your philo clump is a Sea Grape and not much bothers them, they're a native and grow near the beaches as well as lots of other places. Get to be a medium sized sprawling tree.

I would work at getting the shells out from under those plants if you can. Our soil here is naturally slightly alkaline, and so is the water and the shells will gradually make matters worse. Are you irrigating with well water by any chance? Even tap water is slightly alkaline but my well water is more than slightly. We irrigate with untreated well water and in the spring when we have dry spells and have to use the sprinklers more, some of my plants do show signs of iron chlorosis, a condition caused by the higher pH blocking the plant's uptake of nutrients. Even under my oak trees where the soil has been acidified by years of oak leaves, this happens to a degree, depending upon how long the dry spells are and how hot the weather is.

Philos definitely like the soil a bit on the acid side and that may be what is causing the leaves to discolor. The rains we've had this week will help - rain water is close to neutral pH. My advice is "wait and see" if the rain water corrects the situation. Be sure to turn off the sprinklers to those plants whenever you can.
Elaine

"Success is stumbling from failure to failure with no loss of enthusiasm." –Winston Churchill
Name: Glenn M
Pinellas County, Fl
GlennM97
Jun 12, 2016 9:35 PM CST
Thanks for the advise. I will work at getting the shell out to some degree. We use reclaimed water in this area. I have to admin that if it rains I don't touch the sprinkler system. I will look to see what I can do about that. I am just not home enough to really make the constant adjustments with our sporadic weather.

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
Image
dyzzypyxxy
Jun 12, 2016 9:57 PM CST
You can just screw down the adjustment screw on the tops of the sprinkler heads, if you can get at them Glenn. I'd do this for the summer, and then make a note to open them up again in the fall. October or so is when it starts to get cooler and drier. Big established plants like those can do fine with just rain water in the summer time.
Elaine

"Success is stumbling from failure to failure with no loss of enthusiasm." –Winston Churchill

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