|Leaf scorch isn't typically a sign of disease or infection
Scorch isn’t usually a sign of disease, but rather that plants are struggling to cope in their environment. If it’s too exposed to hot, windy, or dry conditions, there are too few nutrients in the soil, or there’s chemical injury from fertilizers or de-icing salt – scorch is likely. Chemical burns can be fatal, and fruiting plants are unlikely to produce good harvests when stressed by their environment, but in an otherwise healthy plant, it’s unlikely that scorch will cause much more than cosmetic damage.
If you notice drying that seems to spread from the leaf tips inwards, chances are that you have a case of scorch. Here’s how to recognise and deal with it.
|Leaf scorch affects the tips of the leaves first
Image: Scot Nelson
When there’s insufficient water and /or nutrients in the soil, it’s the plant’s extremities that suffer first. Deprived of hydration and nutrients, the very tips of the leaves begin to dry out. When the problem is an over-exposed position, the hot sun or drying wind evaporates more moisture from the leaf surface than the plant can replace, drying the leaf surface and turning it brown.
Chemicals can burn roots, affecting the plant’s ability to extract water and nutrients from the soil to keep the plant healthy. Damage tends to show at the leaf tips first, turning them brown.
In extreme cases, whole leaves wither and turn brown – rarely, scorch will kill a plant, but not if you react promptly.
|Simple fixes can limit the damage of leaf scorch
Once you’ve identified that your plants are suffering from environmental stress, resolving the problem should be enough to prevent scorch from getting any worse, or affecting new leaves.
|It's worth keeping in mind that some infections can cause leaf scorch
Yes there are. It’s less common but there are specific diseases that produce a scorch-like appearance.
Though, rarely, scorch-like symptoms are the result of an infection, it’s usually the result of physiological stress. By working to give your plants the ideal growing conditions, most cases of scorch are easy to remedy.