Question of the Week: November 18, 2021

“Is this a fungus on my corn plant? If so, what should I use to spray it?”

Any time you have tip or edge burn of leaves, whether it’s a houseplant, shrub, tree or turfgrass, it points to moisture stress.

That alone seems like a great answer, but in reality it just narrows things down to about 100 possibilities.

The candidates include…
Too dry one or more times;
Too much fertilizer (hence, build-up of soluble salts);
Too little root room (pot-bound for container plants, rocky soils for plants in ground);
Trunk or root damage that has interfered with flow of water;
Hot, dry and/or windy conditions.
And there are more.

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The tips and edges of leaves are the points farthest from the roots, so that is where plants will exhibit drought symptoms first and where water will arrive last.

Knowing dracaenas as I do, I would put the odds that this plant has been allowed to get too dry one or more times at 99 percent. In other words, I’m almost certain.

Dracaenas really don’t wilt when they’re becoming dry, so it’s up to us to watch their soil/feel the soil and water deeply as they begin to dry out.

To avoid build-ups of mineral salts we should also water thoroughly every third or fourth time that we water so that salts will be re-dissolved and leached out the drain holes.

Posted by Neil Sperry
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