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Sun scorch vs. fertilizer burn

Posted by Midwestener none (My Page) on
Tue, Jul 24, 12 at 17:13

I am new to gardening. I planted a weigela shrub last spring on the south side of a structure. It gets no shade until about 6:00 P.M. I fertilized it every two weeks with Miracle Grow liquid plant food at 1 tbsp. per 1 gallon of water, but I did not apply the entire gallon to the shrub. I did this for 8 weeks. Now this shrub is getting brown leaves down inside the plant and also getting burnt tips sporadically on the outer leaves. I stopped using the fertilizer about three weeks ago, and have been deep watering just about every day, but the leaves that are brown on the tips keep getting browner and browner until the entire leaf is dead. Some of the smaller twigs inside of the shrub have been defoliated.
We have also had sustained drought and 100+ temps here as in most parts of the country.
So, does anyone know if this is fertilizer burn or sun scorch, and will the shrub recover next spring from either one? Is there anything else I can do to help this plant?

Follow-Up Postings:

RE: Sun scorch vs. fertilizer burn

Sounds like it may be overwatering damage. Are you able to show a picture? Nothing should need deep watering every day unless it's a bog plant in full sun.

RE: Sun scorch vs. fertilizer burn

  • Posted by carrieb 7 Philadelphia (My Page) on
    Sun, Jul 29, 12 at 20:03

Where I am, Weigela is a part sun plant - full sun until six would be way too much. It also sounds like too much fertilizer and too much water, all which would serve to stress the plant.

RE: Sun scorch vs. fertilizer burn

If you check plant encyclopedias, both online and in print, I think you will find most of them indicate weigela is tolerant of full sun to partial shade. Provided it is given sufficient water, any but the yellow/chartreuse or heavily variegated leafed forms should be able to tolerate full day sun (8+hours) without issue.

Burnt leaf tips typically indicates an excess of fertilizers; yellowing/dropping of interior foliage typically denotes overwatering. I'd cut back on both. FWIW, watering infrequently but quite slowly and deeply when you do is far better than frequent short bursts. And woody plants seldom ever need supplemental fertilizing and never when you first plant them.

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