How to Tell if a Tree is Healthy by Looking at its Leaves

When you invest time, energy, money, and love into your garden trees, then it goes without saying that you want them to be as healthy as possible. In-depth health checks are important, but, let’s face it, you probably don’t have the time to be doing this very often. Fortunately, there’s another way to tell if your tree is healthy or if it’s struggling – by looking at its leaves.

 

Healthy Leaves

Healthy leaves will be the right colour for the time of year you’re in. This colour should also be consistent across the entire leaf, unless you’re looking at a variegated plant. Healthy leaves will be shaped normally and won’t be stunted or distorted in any way. They’ll be open, rather than curled, and will be growing well.

If you’re growing a new tree for the first time and aren’t sure what its leaves are meant to look like, a quick online search should help you out. If you’ve purchased a tree from us, then check out its tree profile on our website to learn more about it.

 

Wilting Leaves

Wilting leaves don’t necessarily mean that a plant is unhealthy, but they’re a definite indicator that your plant is unhappy. There are a few issues that can cause wilt, with the most common being either too much or too little water. Check the growing requirements of the tree to make sure that you’re giving it the right amount of water. Some trees, such as the Queensland Bottle Tree, are drought-tolerant – over-watering can be very detrimental.

Both excessive sun as well as a lack of sun can also lead to wilting leaves. Applying too much fertiliser can cause this too, as can certain diseases.

 

Leaves with Brown Spots on Tips

If you notice brown spots appearing on the tips of a tree’s leaves, with these slowly working their way down the leaf, then this is a sign of drought stress. This usually means that your tree isn’t getting enough water, but it can also be an indicator of salt in the soil.

If watering your tree doesn’t fix the issue, then have your soil tested. If it’s overly salty, it may be best to move that tree and plant a salt-tolerant one, such as a Dragon Tree, in its place. If the issue takes place all over your garden, then plant the tree that was suffering into a large GRC pot filled with a suitable potting mix.

 

Yellowing Leaves

Yellowing leaves are often a sign of a nutrient deficiency. Take a closer look at how the leaves are yellowing to learn more. If the leaf veins are still green but the space in between them is yellow, giving the leaves a stripy appearance, then this indicates a manganese or iron deficiency.

If the entire leaf is turning yellow, then this is likely to be a nitrogen deficiency. Again, it would be worth having your soil tested before proceeding with any amendments, just so that you know exactly what to add in.

 

Healthy Leaves Don’t Always Mean Healthy Trees

While the leaves of a tree can tell you a lot, it’s still important to do an in-depth health check a few times each season. There may be issues with the trunk, bark, or roots that won’t be evident in the leaves until it’s too late, all of which regular health checks will help you to treat.

 

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