Photinias-Red Robin - Leaves Burning

immobilus(9a)April 1, 2013


I live in the desert (Tucson) and wanted to plant large privacy shrubs in my yard. I ended up buying photinias for $20 at Lowes. They're on the north (direct sun exposure) and south sides (partial shade) of my yard. The plants on the south side are growing beautifully and partially shaded by the wooden fence. The ones on the north side are anemic looking, have severe burns on the leaves, etc. I was wondering whether there was a way to increase their resistance to sun burn besides putting something in front of them. I thought about planting something in front of them to give them some shade, but I am wondering if they would always have to be shaded or if they'd grow more tolerant as they got larger. They're about two feet tall and been in the ground about a year. I did fertilize them, which was probably a mistake.

I have to water them every day.

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I can't imagine a less suitable plant for a desert planting!
It will always require regular routine irrigation to survive and your alkaline soil and water conditions will not be to its liking, hence the chlorosis. And time will have no bearing on sun tolerance, either. I'd be highly inclined to cut my losses and replant with something more appropriate to your location and climate.

Rather than plant shopping at a box store - always a risk for hardiness/suitability - visit a better retail garden center in your area and see what they suggest. Evergreen drought tolerance would top my list of requirements. Off the top of my head, oleander, hopbush (Dodonaea viscosa) or Arizona rosewood (Vauqualinia californica) come to mind but upright juniper or Italian cypress could work also.

But forget the photinia - a very poor choice for your situation.

    Bookmark   April 1, 2013 at 4:57PM
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