Plant Diseases/Firespike yellowing leaves and growth
Hello Dr. Vann,
I'm back with another question for you. See the attached picture. I have 6 firespikes planted in the same area. One is half the size of the rest and has yellowing leaves at the base. All plants recieve the same water and fertilizer, which I thought would be the culprits. Any ideas for me?
Leaf yellowing/stunting is often associated with a root/soil related stress. This could be several things including as you said fertility and/or moisture imbalances or even an infectious disease. To rule out a potential root/stem disease, carefully examine the stem near the soil line. Look for any blackening or evidence of tissue degradation (rot). Also check the yellow leaves for any insect critters. If none of these items are seen, it may be a fertility/moisture thing. You may wish to consider having your soil tested by your local County Agricultural Extension office (usually housed in the county courthouse or office building in the county seat). Collect a sample from the root zone of the "healthy" and one from the "sick " plant to compare. Contact the office or even consider contacting your local garden or nursery center for this service.
The soil moisture may fluctuate from plant to plant. You may check the wetness of the soil by digging down close to the roots to see how wet the areas are. There may be a lower area where water accumulates near the yellowing plant. Excess water can prevent nutrients from being absorbed or it may contribute to root stress that will be manifested as yellow leaves.