En EspaŅol
Share

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants

Mr. Smarty Plants - Yellow leaves on non-native pittisporum in Wharton TX

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants is a free service provided by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

Search Smarty Plants
    
 
See a list of all Smarty Plants questions
Can't find the answer in our existing FAQs, submit a question to Mr. Smarty Plants.

Need help with plant identification, visit the plant identification page.
 
rate this answer
Not Yet Rated

Tuesday - March 17, 2009

From: Wharton, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Non-Natives, Compost and Mulch, Shrubs
Title: Yellow leaves on non-native pittisporum in Wharton TX
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

Green pittisporum that I planted 2 years ago and 1 year ago are getting a lot of yellow leaves. Variegated pittisporum that I planted at the same 2 times are doing fine.

ANSWER:

Pittosporum is a group of plants native to China, Japan and Australia. As such, they are out of our range of expertise at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center, where we specialize in the use, care, and propagation of plants native not only to North America but to the area in which they are being grown. However, yellowing of the leaves, referred to as chlorosis, can occur in native as well as non-native plants.

Chlorosis is a yellowing of leaf tissue due to a lack of chlorophyll. Possible causes of chlorosis include poor drainage, damaged roots, compacted roots, high alkalinity, and nutrient deficiencies in the plant. Nutrient deficiencies may occur because there is an insufficient amount in the soil or because the nutrients are unavailable due to a high pH (alkaline soil). Or the nutrients may not be absorbed due to injured roots or poor root growth.

If the soil is not draining well, the roots will be inhibited from picking up the trace elements in the soil, especially iron, and that will result in the plants becoming chlorotic. The major cause of chlorosis is a deficiency of one of the essential micronutrients such as iron or manganese. This deficiency occurs not because the nutrients are lacking in the soil but because they are unavailable due to alkaline soil. At these higher soil pH levels (6.5 and above) many trees and shrubs are incapable of taking up adequate amounts of iron or manganese. Central Texas has a lot of alkaline soil; however, some compost mixed into the soil or used as a top dressing often will address the problem, providing better drainage, reducing the alkalinity and improving the texture of the soil and permitting access to the trace elements needed.

Pictures of chlorotic plants.

 

 

More Shrubs Questions

Flowering and evergreen shrubs for landscape in Indiana
May 29, 2010 - I live in Southern Indiana and we are getting ready to redesign our front landscape. Currently, we have some yews and other shrubs that are unruly and require a lot of pruning and care. My husband hat...
view the full question and answer

Evergreen hedge for NY
February 26, 2012 - I am looking for a native evergreen shrub that could be used as a hedge or privacy screen on the Rockaway peninsula in Queens county. It is a beach community with sand soil ( except where it has been...
view the full question and answer

Evergreen plants for a windbreak
June 13, 2008 - Our church has need to plant a windbreak. We would like fast growing native plants, preferably evergreen or really early 'leafers' to protect us from our windy season beginning in mid/late February....
view the full question and answer

Short evergreen shrub for Virginia
April 10, 2009 - I have been looking everywhere for an evergreen shrub that is 3-4 ft. in height, non-poisonous to humans, and that thrives in zone 7 to no avail. Please help!
view the full question and answer

Improving blooming on mock orange
March 03, 2008 - I have a now 6 yr. old mock orange shrub in the garden which has never bloomed, darn it. I have fed, not fed, mulched, not mulched, sheared, not sheared. What gives? Will it ever bloom, or shall I ...
view the full question and answer

Smarty Plants's Facebook profile Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.

Mr. Smarty Plants wants you to be his Facebook friend. Click the Facebook icon to add yourself to Mr. Smarty Plants list of friends.
E-NEWSLETTER | BECOME A MEMBER | DONATE NOW | MEDIA | SITEMAP
© 2014 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center