I recently built a home in Phoenix after living here for a few years and planted Indian Laurel Figs to grow an eventual hedge in my back yard. Generally speaking, I've been told and seen Indian Laurel do well here in our clay soil. I planted them in January so this will be my first summer. I was watering them once a week for about 5 minutes per plant and then upped it to twice a week as weather warmed.
I fertilized them when I planted and then again before our heat started climbing three weeks ago. About that same time (2nd fertilizing/heat rising) or a little after black/brown spots started appearing on the edges, tips and interiors of leaves.
I was concerned I may be over watering at twice a week, but a local suggested that in fact I may not be deep watering enough. They suggested I deep water the plants twice a week for at least 30 minutes, if not an hour, due to our heat. So I bought a soaker hose and let it run on them for an hour on Wed and then 30 minutes on Thurs. I realize two days in a row might have been excessive so I'm waiting until Monday to water again and then they will be on an every 3-4 day soak cycle until Oct when temps cool.
I could not find any examples of what over watering might look like on an Indian Laurel. I also looked at whether or not the spots may be blotch, but I don't see any of the little circles depicted in those reference photos.
I have also sprayed Neem on the leaves about once a month since planting.
1) Does this look like a lack of water to experienced gardeners?
2) If deep watering is in fact what they needed how long does it normally take to see the first signs of turnaround and for the spots/black ends and dead leaves to cycle off?
3) Is it possible this is from over fertilization (is was liquid fertilizer diluted in water)? I'm doubtful, but lack the knowledge to say for sure.
4) Does anything in the photos resemble blotch?
Thank you in advance for any feedback you might have.
~ new to this PHXGuy