Inkberry Shamrock problems

Asked April 9, 2020, 2:23 PM EDT

Do you guys know what is wrong with my inkberry shamrock shrubs? These were planted last spring. They looked good last year but now some of the leaves are turning yellow/brown (see picture) and they generally look unwell. The soil in this area drains pretty well and I put holly tone fertilizer on them a couple weeks ago (they were looking rough before that). I thought these were pretty easy to grow but evidently not for me.

Warren County Kentucky

1 Response

Based on the pictures that you submitted, it looks like you have chlorosis going on. Chlorosis is yellowing of the leaves which can be common in high pH (alkaline) soils. The best way to test for high pH levels would be to perform a soil test. In order to test soil for a landscape shrub, I would recommend that you sample the top 6 to 12 inches of soil using a shovel. Take samples from under the drip line or just outside the root ball from the landscape bed area. Scatter to different locations around the shrub so it is a well-represented sample. I would recommend that you do this 10 times. Avoid collecting any other materials when sampling. We just need straight soil. Mix all the samples together in a clean bucket. Let air dry on newspaper for 24 hours if there is any excess moisture in the sample. Avoid sampling when the soil is saturated from rain or this can hurt the soil structure.

Bring the soil sample to the Extension Office to have tested. Due to COVID-19, our Extension Office is closed to the public. We ask that you leave the sample in the drop box out front of the Extension Office and call the office at (270) 842-1681 in order for us to help you fill out the form. Soil samples are $7.00 each. Please bring a check or bring exact change. Our office is located at 5162 Russellville Road in Bowling Green, KY. It is located right down from Huck's gas station and before Farm Credit Services.

I also noticed that some of the leaves were cupping downwards that were located on the top and sides of the plant. Spider mites may appear, especially in dry conditions. Make sure to look under the leaves towards the top of the plant to make sure that there isn't any evidence of webbing which can be a sign of spider mites. Have you sprayed any herbicide around the plants lately? If there was considerable wind, some of the product could have drifted onto the plant. If this was the case, don't worry. They will grow out of it but it may take some time.

For any other questions, please contact me via email at kristin.goodin@uky.edu.