Water Deficit/Excess

Pest/Disease: Water deficit/excess

Pest Type: Non-infectious plant disease

Major Identifying Features: Wilted foliage, faded leaf colors, dead leaf margins and tips, dropped leaves, smaller leaves, slow plant growth, dry soil and soil cracks when water is short, soggy and flooded soil when too wet

Life Cycle: Wet months from December through March, dry months from May through November

Pest/Disease Rating: N/A

Management Rating: Easy to moderate

Host/Season/Outbreak Information: Winter season can be too wet and summer season can be too dry in California

Damage Information: Foliage wilts, fades in colors, dies along margins and tips, leaves drop prematurely. Prolonged moisture deficit results in smaller leaves and flowers, slower growth, fewer flowers and fruit, dieback, increased susceptibility to pests. Lack of water can result in wilting, leaf discoloration, and defoliation, excess water can deprive roots of oxygen, killing roots, and increasing susceptibility to root decay pathogens and nematode damage

Management Options: Mechanical control by appropriate water management practices, and drainage, prevention by regular watering and mulching during dry summer months and drainage in winter


Dreistadt, Steve H., and Jack Kelly. Clark. Pests of Landscape Trees and Shrubs: An Integrated Pest Management Guide. Oakland, CA: U of California, Division of Agriculture and Natural Resources, 1994. Print.


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