why do plant leaves turn yellow and fall off


By Bonnie L. Grant, Certified Urban Agriculturist
Just like people, plants are known to feel under the weather now and then. One of the more common signs of ailment is yellowing leaves. When you see leaves turning yellow, it s time to put your Sherlock hat on and do some sleuthing to find the possible cause and solution. Among the reasons why plant leaves are yellow are environmental conditions, cultural reasons, pests or disease, and even the medium in which the plant grows. There are many conditions that affect plant growth. Plants are susceptible to temperature variations, sensitive to chemicals and excesses of nutrient, require specific soil compositions and pH levels, have varying lighting needs, are prey to certain pests and diseases, and many other factors influence their health. Yellowing leaves on plants can be a sign of any of these out of balance or even certain nutritional or chemical influences. Plants don t have facial expressions so they, therefore, can t express discomfort or displeasure the way we can. What they can do is show dissatisfaction with a condition by signaling with their leaves. So when you find out why plant leaves turn yellow, you can start triaging your ill plant and nurse it back to health. Yellowing leaves on plants may often be a sign of or or nutrients which can affect plant performance. Your plant may also be located in too much light where it is scorching, or too little light where it is fading due to an inability to properly.


Yellowing also occurs due to blatant physical damage. Age is another cause when plant leaves are yellow. It is quite usual for many types of plants to lose the older leaves as the new ones arrive. Older foliage will turn yellow and often wither before it drops off. is another condition with which most are familiar that makes yellow plant leaves. Of course, yellow plant leaves may not be the only hue experienced, as autumnal displays of red, orange, bronze and rust are common sights. Because of the closed environment in container plants, the conditions must be carefully controlled. There is a limited amount of space, area to store moisture, nutrient in the medium, and lighting and temperature must be considered for each species of potted plant. Our houseplants often have leaves turning yellow due to nutrient deficiency or excess salt in the soil from too much fertilizer. It may be necessary to change the soil or with large amounts of water to correct the balance. Of course, changing the soil can trigger a condition called, which also causes yellowing and dropping leaves. Indoor plants are often tropical in nature and something as simple as changing the plant s location can produce yellowing leaves on plants which drop off the specimen.


This is often due to stress but can also indicate low light or exposure to a draft. The pH may also be too high, causing a condition called. It is a good idea to use a pH meter in potted plants to ensure the correct growing conditions. Overhead watering is yet another cause for yellow water spots on plants like, and several other species of plants with slightly furred foliage. Pinpointing the causes of yellowed leaves can be quite difficult due to all the potential causes. One thing we haven t gone over are pests and disease. Sucking insects attack plants inside and outside. These encompass: Many of these insects are too tiny to see with the naked eye and are identified by the plant s response to their feeding activity. The insects are robbing the plant of its sap, which is the life blood of the plant. The plant s response is a reduction in overall health including stippled and yellowing leaves. Leaves may crinkle at the edges and fall off. In most cases, repeatedly washing the plant to remove the insects or using a or can combat these little pirates. Root diseases are often found in or in. Any attack on roots can limit the ability of the plant to uptake moisture and nutrients, severely affecting its health. Roots may simply rot away, leaving the plant with minimal ways to sustain themselves.


Withering, fading leaves are a common sight when roots are under attack by or even. As you can see, there are many causes for yellowing foliage. It is best to familiarize yourself with your plant s specific needs so you can consider each cultural condition carefully and unearth possible causes. It takes patience, but your plants will love you for it. It s reasonable to state that over-watering or under-watering is mostPlikely at fault when a plant s leaves turn yellow. With potted plants, it is crucial that you only water as much as the plant needs. If you have a plant with yellow leaves, check the soil in the pot. Is it dry? Is it soaked? If plants don t receive enough water, they drop leaves P(essentially, a plant s way of sweating) and conserve water. Before they drop, though, the leaves will. typically turn yellow. If the soil s dry and this is happening, make it a point to get on a regular watering schedule. Too much water can be just as damaging to leaves. When the soil doesn t drain well, an overdose of water leaves the soil waterlogged and root systems can literally drown. Without oxygen, roots start to die. P Very few plants appreciate water left to sit in their trays (this is called sublingual watering). EvenP Pdon t want to grow in mud unless they are semi-aquatic, like some of theP Pspecies. P

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