Don’s Expert Answers: LILLY PILLIES DROPPING LOWER LEAVES

Question From:
Trent in BETHANIA, LOGAN Queensland

Nature of problem:
LILLY PILLIES DROPPING LOWER LEAVES

Type of Plant (if known):
Some type of Lilly Pilly

Symptoms of Plant Illness (please try NOT to diagnose your problems yourself):
Losing lower leaves at end of Spring. Ant nests at base of plants, Scale, caterpillars. Local Fairy Rens do a good job of keeping the caterpillars at bay. Scale not too bad, always ants on plants.

Soil Type (e.g. sandy, clay or loam) OR Potting Mix Type:
Clay type mulched.

How often do you water the plant:
Seems to do better during hotter months with little water. Summer once weekly, winter virtually no watering.

How many hours of sunlight does the plant get each day:
No direct sun in Autumn/Winter. Half day during other months.

How long since you planted it:
3 years.

Have you fertilised? If so, with what and when:
Osmacote for trees and shrubs after I noticed the problem.

Is the plant indoors or outdoors:
Outdoor.

Is the plant in a pot or in the ground:
Ground

What other treatments have you given the plant:
Pyrethrum on leaves and sprayed bases of trunks and surrounding under leaf litter with Diluted Pyrethrum (for ant nests) right before the issue began. Also had a lot of rain after very hot humid dry summer before issue arose.

Upload photo if available:

Other Comments:
Tops of plants doing well approx 2 or so metres high. Leaf loss up to half a metre from base.
Trunks developing, branches baron at bottom of plant.

Answer:
Hi Trent, I must admit that I am not sure what the cause of your problem is. Lillypillies can survive on half a day’s sun in the warmer months and none over winter, but they don’t like it. The photo looks a bit like lack of watering is the cause. Dig some small holes with a garden trowel to a depth of about 20-30cm. Look for dry soil. If you find it, get a soil wetting agent such as Scotts Everydrop and apply it to the soil. From then on, water the plants once a week in the cooler months and twice a week in the warmer months. Watering involves a sprinkler or irrigation system running for about 30 minutes on each plant. don

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