Why do maple tree and burning bush leaf edges turn brown in mid-summer?



Leaf scorch.  During sunny, hot, dry, windy weather, excessive transpiration from plant leaves can lead to scorch.  Plant cells furthest from water-supplying veins may dry to death, turning the tissue brown.  Leaf scorch is worse when leaf tissue is already weakened, as from iron chlorosis.  Leaf scorch may also result from root rot (over-watering), salty soil or poor-quality irrigation water, or damage to the roots or trunk. 
Recommendation: Rule of thumb, when top 2 – 3 inches of soil dries out around the plant, water deeply.  Cover the entire tree root zone as well as possible, applying about 1 to 2 inches of water that soaks in gradually.  Mulch 2” – 3” deep over entire root zone to retain soil moisture and eliminate competition from turf.

Posted on 13 Jun 2006

Karl Hauptfleisch
Salt Lake Master Gardener

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