Q: Can you tell me what is causing the orange spots on my anise and ligustrum leaves?
A: I had a strong suspicion I knew the culprit but I wanted to confirm it with some of my Green Team colleagues. We all came to the same conclusion – overhead irrigation from your well water was causing the pitting. These shrubs, once established, do not require heavy irrigation. If you watered them once a month or never again – they would be fine with it. Watering them when they are growing in harsh, parking lot median environments, similar to most commercial sites, is beneficial. But in your situation, a typical home landscape with dappled lighting and mulched pine-straw areas, these shrubs really require little care.
We really cause so many disease and environmental problems for our hardy shrubs by overhead irrigation and too much water. Cap the irrigation heads or turn off the shrubbery watering zones. Unfortunately, the damage on the leaves is permanent since these are evergreen shrubs, but ultimately, they will add new leaves and get taller and these ugly leaves can be removed little by little. Don’t strip them all now, that would cause too much stress for the plant – remember leaves provide food for the plant.
One other thing, these shrubs really want to be tall shrub/trees. Please consider letting them grow taller than 3 feet. They will bring much more value to your landscape if you let them develop into 8-15 trees. It will take a few years to get them into the final shape you desire but the results are stunning and well worth the effort. Or, think about taking a couple of them and letting them grow to see the results – then call me back and let me know what you think. I believe you will then allow the others to grow tall too. Anyway, those are my suggestions to you – some food for thought. Plus, I would love to know how much you are saving on your water bill once you make the change. Call me and let me know. Water is one of our most precious commodities and we really need to conserve this natural resource.