Indian Hawthorn

onemoreplant(7)May 28, 2008

I bought 6 hawthorns of a variety called blueberry muffin. Three of them planted together are doing great. The other 3 planted together have their under leaves turning yellow. They get the same amount of water. Any ideas?

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Okiedawn OK Zone 7

Look at the yellowing leaves. Are they a solid yellow with no other discoloration? Or, are they yellow but with brown, black, green or maroonish spots? Or, are they yellow for the most part, but with greenish veins? Or, are they greenish for the most part with yellowish veins? And, are the yellowing leaves following some sort of consistent pattern? For example, on all three plants are the yellowing leaves starting at the bottom of the plant? And, if so, does the yellowing continue to travel up the stem from leaf to leaf?

Also, are the plants growing well and putting out new leaves at the ends of the branches despite the yellowing?

Without knowing if there is any spotting on the leaves, it is hard to guess what it is. On any plant, yellowing leaves can indicate many problems, including stress from too much heat, too much water, too little water, overfertilization, etc.

Indian Hawthornes are very prone to several foliar diseases, especially Entomosporium leaf spot. That's why I need to know if there are spots on the leaves Obviously the recommended remedy for disease would be different from the recommended remedy for yellowing leaves caused by something else.

And, finally, were these planted in good soil to which a decent amount of organic material like compost, pine bark pines, manure, etc. had been added?


    Bookmark   May 28, 2008 at 1:28PM
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Thenks for the info. The leaves are yellow for the most part with green along the vein. Some leaves are totally yellow. The yellow leaves are scattered around the bottom and the interior of the plant. Some stems have several yellow leaves. Some stems have none.

The plants have only been in the ground for a month. I can find a few little buds. The soil is good with organic material and mulch.

Hate to say this: I planted the 3 plants that are doing poorly. Someone else planted the 3 that are doing well.

    Bookmark   May 28, 2008 at 3:20PM
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Okiedawn OK Zone 7

Often, when leaves are yellow with green veins it is a symptom of iron cholorosis, (iron deficiency).

Do you know the pH of your soil? Iron deficiency is more common in alkaline soils (those with a pH above 7) but sometimes you can find it in neutral to slightly acidic soils because the iron in those soils may not exist in a form that is easily taken up by the plants' roots.

Did you feed your plants when you planted them. Perhaps with a good starter solution or liquid seaweed or anything? Sometimes yellowing leaves simply indicate a lack of nitrogen. I think if it is a lack of nitrogen, though, that the yellowing leaves wouldn't necessarily have the green veins.

I'm going to find a link and attach it below. Look at the leaves in the link and see if yours look similar.

I am not sure it mattered who planted them, esp. if you planted them at the same time into the same bed. I hope you planted them in the same depth in the ground that they were planted in the containers. If you plant too deeply, that can cause problems, although it usually is worse with trees than with shrubs.

So, look at the attached link and tell me what you think. Do you see photos that match your plants?


Here is a link that might be useful: Photo--Indian Hawthorne with Iron Deficiency

    Bookmark   May 28, 2008 at 4:26PM
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Thanks so much for the info.

I used Miracle Gro garden soil for trees and bushes when I planted them. I have fertilized once with Miracle Gro.

After checking with the link you sent, I examined the leaves again under a magnifying glass. My leaves definitely look more like the top photo, except under the magnifying glass I see that my plants' veins are yellow rather than green. It is the "cells" of the leaf that have some green in them.

There are other plants thriving in the bed: false hollies, dwarf nandinas, mondo grass, carpet roses, verigated boxwood. None of them have yellow leaves.

The hawthorns are in two different beds; the beds are divided by the entrace onto my porch. I fear I planted my three too deep and perhaps should consider replanting them.

Would it hurt to add a little iron along with using Miracle Gro?

    Bookmark   May 28, 2008 at 7:35PM
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Okiedawn OK Zone 7

It wouldn't hurt to add a little chelated iron along with the MG. In fact, MG has a product called Miracid that helps acidify the soil and provides iron. Just follow the directions. I'm not totally convinced it is iron deficiency, but it might be, and a little iron won't hurt. It could be transplant shock or a little nitrogen deficiency. Just feed them, keep an eye on them, watch for the tell-tale spots that indicate a foliar disease, and be patient and give them time to get better. Shrubs don't show improvement as fast as annuals and herbaceous perennials.

Good luck,


    Bookmark   May 28, 2008 at 9:01PM
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Thanks for all your input. I will follow up on your suggestions and will try to be patient.

    Bookmark   May 28, 2008 at 9:37PM
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I have 4 relatively new plants (dwarf I think) planted in May. They were doing well for several months and then started looking badly. First it was just one or two of them and now they are all looking like they are on their last leg. I thought it was lack of water... now am wondering if it could maybe be too much water? I have read that they are fairly drought tolerant once established, but felt that being newly planted in a hot desert environment, they would need more water. Yet, lately the temp has been cooling off a lot, and they seem to be doing even worse. The leaves get brown spots in the center that quickly grow larger until the majority of the leaf is brown and the rest turns a pale minty green color vs the deep green it was when it was alive and well. The spots don't look like the entomosporium leaf spot on Raphiolepis I have seen lots of pictures of, but is much larger, and one solitary spot instead of multiple smaller ones. It strangly (to me) doesn't turn completely brown, but the minty green part is as dead and crunch as the brown part. Also strange to me is that the dead leaves do not fall off. I have been knocking them off, as well as breaking off the brittle branches. Often only some of the plant will have the branches affected in this way and the other branches will have healthy looking green leaves. Any thoughts on what my problem could be? I am afraid that it may be too late to save my beautiful shrubs. :( I would be happy to email pictures of my troubled plants and leaves if it would be of help. Thank you so much in advance! ~Lindsey

    Bookmark   September 17, 2008 at 1:39PM
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Okiedawn OK Zone 7

Hi Lindsey,

Because your climate there is so different from ours here, I don't know if your plants encounter the same diseases and pests we see here in Oklahoma, or if y'all have different ones. So, I googled and found some Indian Hawthorn info from UC-Davis and have linked it below. Maybe something in it will help. It does seem to have a lot of useful info. I do want to share with you a couple of thoughts that crossed my mind as I was reading your post.

First of all, I would say that when a plant has browning or yellowing of the foliage AND the plant was planted within the last year, it very often (probably 75% of the time) is suffering from transplant shock. It is not unusual for transplant shock to show up many weeks or months (up to a year) after a plant was planted. With transplant shock, though, you'll see foliage discoloration but it doesn't usually show up as a circle in the middle of the leaf. So, it might be transplant shock, but I don't necessarily think it is.

Secondly, alarm bells started going off in my head when I glanced at your user name and saw that you are in the southern California desert. I don't think of Indian Hawthorne as a desert-type plant. To me, Indian Hawthorne is the kind of plant that thrives in a "typical" southern USA or southeastern USA location--an area with well-drained soil that has high organic content in the soil, lots of rainfall, moderate to high humidity and a soil (and water) pH that is somewhat acidic, like in the 6.0 to 6.8 range or thereabouts. I've never lived or gardened in the desert, but I would assume your soil there is alkaline to very alkaline, has low-organic content in the soil, and has a pH in both the water and soil that is too high for an Indian Hawthorne to do well. However, IF you added tons and tons of organic material to your soil, you might be able to overcome your soil's shortcomings and get an Indian Hawthorne to do well.

Third, because desert soil is sandy, I wonder if nematodes are a problem there? In our county in Oklahoma, we have two predominant soil types--very, very thick, heavy, slow-draining red clay and extremely well-drained sandy soil that does not hold moisture very well. In those sandy areas, nematodes are a big problem. Nematodes COULD cause problems for your plant because they damage the roots and interfere with the uptake of moisture and nutrition.

Fourth, have the plants grown well since they were planted, or did they start going downhill when they were planted and then never rebounded? Here, if leaves from Indian Hawthorn fall because of drought stress or disease, you normally have new leaves come out pretty quickly to replace them. If that's not happening, something pretty serious is probably going on.

Fifth, I assume desert soil is low-fertility. Thus, you would need to fertilize regularly with a good balanced fertilizer in order for the plant to grow and remain healthy. Have you fertilized?

Sixth, in the cooler, wetter, more humid south, a lot of gardeners have problems with anthracnose on their Indian Hawthorn shrubs. Your brown circular spots sound sort of like anthracnose, but without seeing those spots, it is hard to say. Anthracnose spots would be brown with alternating light and dark brown concentric rings--sort of like a target.

Finally, you didn't say if there is any sort of a pattern. For example, are the brown leaves up higher on the shrub? Down lower? All over? Are the affected leaves newer growth or older growth? It is happening all over the plant at one time, or does it start on one limb and then advance limb by limb?

We can discuss this more if the questions made you think of anything else you observed that might help us to figure it out.

A couple of more suggestions. Although we're a friendly bunch here at the Oklahoma Forum and are ALWAYS happy to hear from gardeners who don't live in Oklahoma, you might get more helpful info from someone who lives there in California and gardens in a climate and soil more similar to yours. So, you might want to ask this question at the California Forum here at Garden Web.

Also, you might want to take photos (and maybe even a small limb with both sick leaves and healthy leaves on it)to a full-line nursery (NOT a big box store that just happens to have a "garden center" and sells plants) and see if someone knowledgeable there can help you. OR, you could contact your county agricultural/horticultural extension agent. OR, if you can find a listing for your county's Master Gardener program, you might try to get in touch with a master gardener and see if they can help you. (In many states, master gardeners staff extension helplines.)

I don't know if anything I said was particularly helpful, but I tried. I just feel hampered by the knowledge that your conditions are so different from ours.

Good luck,


Here is a link that might be useful: UC-Davis Indian Hawthorn page

    Bookmark   September 17, 2008 at 3:05PM
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Planted these hawthorns last spring (they are the Clara variety) and they are full west facing and get all the afternoon/evening sun. We are in Dallas TX. So after last year's record breaking hot summer, the hawthorns were already having trouble. One specifically started with brown spots on the leaves and pretty soon lost 30-40% of its leaves. I baby sat it like crazy, and it made it thru the winter and even had some new growth this spring (the plant is quite scrawney right now).
In fact, all three of my hawthorns had new growth this spring (tho no flowers this year). We've now had a week or so of 100+ degree days, and it's starting to show some signs of distress. The top leaves are all yellowing, and some of the leaves are getting brown spots. I want to avoid all the leaves falling off, so need some suggestions on what to do. Is it too hot for them? Am I over watering/underwatering? Do they have a disease of some kind? Are they lacking in Iron or Nitrogen?

    Bookmark   July 2, 2012 at 1:41PM
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