Why are the edges of leaves turning brown?

tony2shoes(8)June 13, 2009

My cannas started flowering in late May and lloked very healthy, but now the edges of the leaves are turning brown. I water every day. I have not seen any insects and I tryed spraying thinking it might be leaf roller, but it hasn't helped. Any suggestions as what to do??

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It might be more helpful with a bit more information. Your profile indicates a zone 8 area but I am wondering more about your temperatures and humidity levels as well as plant location.
The plant symptoms definitely are not virus or insect related in my opinion. The leaf edge burn would indicate a possible high heat and low humidity situation. The ability of the plants root system to supply enough water to the outer extreme leaf edges is the result but not necessarily the cause. The leaf edges are the last to receive moisture and nutrients within the plant. Possibly the plants are growing in an area that may be receiving reflected heat from surroundings.
This does not mean you are not watering sufficiently but for some reason the plantÂs ability to take up the water is being limited.
Plants growing in a restricted area sometimes produce root-bound conditions that might contribute to this occurrence. High transpirations rates are compounded by high temp and low humidity conditions. Burning leaf tips or edges would be a possible consequence. Excessive fertilization can potentially cause tender feeder roots to burn and limit the nutrient uptake.
You may be looking at either a root problem or plant location problem or a combination of both. Hope this is helpful.
Regards, Kent

    Bookmark   June 17, 2009 at 9:48PM
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Kent - Thanks for the great feedback. I live in California on the edge of the Mojave desert. The plant broke ground in early April and started to flower by mid May. For the most part, temperatures here have been unseasonably cool (mid 70s to low 80s) during the day and 50s at night. Humidity here is generally in the 10 to 20% range and average rainfall less than 3 inches. The soil is a silty, sandy clay that has been ammended slightly with peatmoss. The plants are watered daily. They were purchased last year from a big box garden center, so this is the first year that they have come back on there own. I fertilized them with mirical grow powder. Mixed 2 large scopes per 2 gallons of water. However, I didn't fertilize them until after the brown started occuringing.
Desert garden

Canna in flower

Closeup of browning of leaf edges

    Bookmark   June 18, 2009 at 10:48PM
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Wow that soil (especially in the last photo) looks like it is pure clay!

It also looks like there are a lot of water spots on the leaves. Are you watering mid-day when it is very hot? That might cause some burning as the water droplets become tiny little magnifying glasses.

If it were me I'd dig them up and make a hole about 2 foot diameter and about 2 feet deep. Fill it with Promix or Sunshine mix or even your own homemade mix. Replant and watch them go!

Just some thoughts.


    Bookmark   June 19, 2009 at 3:02PM
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The second set of photos is of great help. I think that without question your most pressing problem is dealing with the very low humidity. You are also dealing with reflected heat from the adjacent surroundings. That includes the light colored soil.
I would suggest that you consider using cedar (cypress) mulch (not nuggets). This will serve a two fold purpose. It would hopefully slow the evaporation of your soil moisture and prevent water from splattering the lower leaves with potential soil-borne bacterial infections.
Your cannas obviously prefer a good deal more water than your surrounding plants and you may need to pay special attention to a more frequent watering cycle for them.
I would be interested to know how successfully you deal with this situation.
Regards, Kent

    Bookmark   June 20, 2009 at 1:45PM
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Thanks for the input, I'll let you know how the canna's respond to ammending the soil and more water.

    Bookmark   June 21, 2009 at 1:42AM
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