WSU Extension


Common Cultural Problems
Air pollution 
Construction damage 
Desiccating wind 
Drought damage 
Fertilizer burn 
Frost injury 
Hail damage 
Lime-induced chlorosis 
Marginal leaf necrosis 
Morphological changes 
Mosses and lichens 
Needle loss 
Needle tip necrosis 
Nutrient deficiency 
Overwatering or poor drainage 
Plant girdling and circling roots 
Poor pollination 
Salt damage 
Transplant shock 
Winter desiccation 
Winter injury 

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Caption: Marginal leaf necrosis
Photo by: R.S. Byther
Common Cultural : Marginal leaf necrosis
(revision date: 4/30/2013)

Marginal leaf necrosis can be caused by numerous factors that restrict the flow of water to the leaves, such as drought, salt damage (fertilization), root rot, cankers, excessive heat, and chemical injury. Symptoms include browning and dieback of leaf edges and tips, sometimes extending into the leaf between the major veins.
Management Options

Non-Chemical Management
  • Irrigate plants as needed to keep soil moist.
  • Apply an organic mulch over the root zone to reduce water evaporation from the soil and to modify soil temperatures.
  • Improve drainage if the soil is soggy.
  • Proper planting techniques can prevent problems. Break up and spread matted circling roots to ensure good root growth into the surrounding soil.
  • Fertilize moderately.
  • Match plant species/varieties to the environment.
Select non-chemical management options as your first choice!

Chemical Management

None recommended


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Caption: Marginal leaf necrosis
Photo by: R.S. Byther
Caption: Marginal leaf necrosis
Photo by: R.S. Byther
Caption: Rhododendron marginal leaf necrosis
Photo by: R.S. Byther