3 Common Signs of Stress in Plants

Grant Jones, Director of Construction/Design

Now that summer is here and your plants have nearly finished most of their spring growth, it’s important than to keep a close eye on them for any signs of stress. Here are three common signs of stress in plants as well as what may be causing it.

Wilting LeavesWilting Leaves

This is most common, and difficult, symptom a plant will exhibit when it is under stress. The most common cause is due to a lack of water. Check the soil around the plants to see if it is too dry. If so, immediately give the plant a good watering. You will also want to check your irrigation for proper coverage or possibly broken head.

Believe it or not, another cause of wilting leaves is over watering. It is very common for people to water plants even more when they see wilting leaves, but this will make the problem worse or possibly even kill the plant.

Check the soil and irrigation just like you would above and make any adjustments necessary. Wilting leaves can also be caused by extreme heat. Look at the leaves in the evening or early morning to see if they have recovered some of their vigor. There is not a lot you can do about Houston’s blistering summers, so make sure they are getting the proper amount of water and hope for a cold front.  

Discolored LeavesDiscolored Leaves

Another common symptom when plants are distressed is abnormal coloring in their leaves. This is most often caused by a nutrient deficiency.  For example, if the lower leaves are lighter in color than the upper leaves, this might indicate a nitrogen deficiency. If the leaf turns yellow but the veins remain green, then suspect an iron deficiency.

Nutrient deficiencies can be difficult to identify because the affect on the leave looks the same. The best solution is to take some leaves to a local nursery. They can help identify what might be causing the problem, and offer some solutions.

Misshapen Leaves

It’s important to note that no plant has completely uniform leaves, but a group of misshapen leaves can be a cause for concern. The good news is most of the time this is caused by some type of pest. Some examples are leaves that are curling in on themselves, leaves that look shiny or wet, or leaves that look they have been eaten.

These are typically signs of a pest problem, and can be treated with the appropriate type of chemical or organic pesticide.

If you'd like more information about plant health or are worried that your plants are under stress, please feel free to contact us!

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Grant Jones, Director of Construction/Design


Before earning his Bachelor’s degree in Landscape Architecture at Texas A&M, Grant traveled the world while working in the Internet Security Industry for 20 years. His experiences have helped shape his outside-the-box approach to landscape design challenges. Grant also excels at mastering many of the complex software applications used in our industry.

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