Home / Garden Care / Why Do Lychee Leaves Turn Brown? – All You Need To Know

Why Do Lychee Leaves Turn Brown? – All You Need To Know

If there had to be the second king of fruits, it must have been Lychee. This pale-greyish jelly-like fruit is the favorite of all.

It is about half to one inch in size, round or oval-shaped usually, with a red-pink sturdy outer covering.

Once the skin is peeled, the translucent jelly-like flesh of Lychee feels like grape but tastes much sweeter.

Why do Lychee leaves turn brown

The prime season for this fruit to grow lies between May to August, and many gardeners tend to grow it in their gardens.

Do you also have lychee-trees in your garden that stand high and produce mouth-watering treats? Lychee trees undoubtedly add beauty to your garden.

But a very common problem seen with lychee trees is the browning of their leaves.

Many gardeners complain of their lychee leaves turning yellow or brown in the initial stages of fruit growth.

If you are facing a similar problem, just stick hard and continue reading to spot out the causes and respective solutions to this problem.

Wind Burn:

The most common and natural reason for the distortion of lychee leaves is none else than Windburn.

As your lychee tree flushes new growth, the newly grown leaves are too sensitive and tender to stand the strong wind.

Even a very moderate wind of less than 15-20 mph can damage these leaves.

Not just that, in the initial growth stages, lychee tree imports and utilizes all its stored energy, i.e., electrolytes, sugar, starch, etc. If damaged in the earlier stages of growth, there is a very less reserve left.

A lesser reserve ultimately lessens the chance of rejuvenation or re-growth.

To determine whether its Windburn is causing the damage to your tree, inspect the leaves thoroughly. If only half of your tree shows brown spots, then that is a sign of Windburn.

How To Fix It?

The easiest way to protect your lychee trees from being damaged by wind is growing banana or bamboo trees near your lychee tree.

A banana tree is a preferable choice as it grows fast and comes off with a hard bark and crisp leaves. Also, it produces organic material and acts as a windbreak to save your delicate lychee trees from windburns.

Another easy way could be installing shaded cloth windbreaks around the trees.

Banana trees are easy and fast to grow. In addition to Windbreaks, banana trees also produce massive organic content. It can help nourish the soil by reducing excessive evaporation and soil erosion.

Abundant Use Of Fertilizers:

In addition to imbalanced watering, abundant usage of fertilizers can also lead to the browning of leaves.

Yellowish-brown tips of leaves manifest the tip-burn, which might be caused by over-fertilization or nutrient-deficiency.

Lychees grow moderately and don’t require too much fertilizer. However, to accelerate the growth process or to achieve better growth, several fertilizers can be used.

Not to forget, ‘Excess of everything is bad’. Make sure the frequency and quantum of fertilizers used are precise enough.

While fertilizers can stimulate improved growth, excessive fertilizers can burn the root system and kill the tree.

How To Fix It?

The optimal fertilizer that can be used over Lychee trees is a time-release fertilizer. Unlike regular fertilizers dissolve into the soil after a rainfall completely (leading to tree’s death).

However, time-release fertilizer releases nutrients only when the pellets are exposed to water. It helps to achieve a moderate-paced growth if applied reasonably.

The thumb rule for fertilizer application is ‘A little is good, but a lot is not better’. So, don’t go for applying fertilizers for more than once in a month.

Further, using heavy fertilizers, excessively on a Lychee tree, will only make you watch it die soon after heavy rainfall, as the nutrients dissolve in the soil and cause the root system to burn.

A Lychee tree can grow optimally if saved from wind and provided with a proper sun site.

However, to achieve moderate growth, general-purpose fertilizers shall work out the best, reducing the chances of fertilizer burn.

Imbalanced Watering:

To identify a watering problem, you need to inspect the leaves of your lychee tree. Leaves that exhibit yellowish-brownish spots only at their tips are indicative of an imbalanced watering.

The primary reason for which could be too much or too little watering. To diagnose a watering problem, the environmental conditions also need to be taken into consideration.

A cooler period followed by heat and humidity gives rise to fungal growth and excessive moisture content in the soil.

Trees exposed to standing water or too much moisture exhibit a significant stunt growth. Or on the contrary, hotter weather may cause the leaves to dry out.

How To Fix It?

Lychee trees don’t demand much watering, but they should be allowed to grow their vigorous roots, themselves.

However, drought-stressed trees may need to be watered frequently and deeply to help them adjust to extreme weather conditions.

Other Causes:

Many other reasons can make your shiny glossy Lychee leaves turn pale brown and crooked in shape.

These may be disease or temperature related. However, they must be diagnosed and treated in time to save your Lychee tree from dying.

Fungal Diseases:

Yellow or brownish spots or speckles on the leaves, instead of complete discoloration, are a sign of diseases or pests. Some common diseases that cause browning of leaves include,

  • The deformation (usually curling up) of Lychee leaves, along with the appearance of black or tanned lesions upon the leaf surface, indicate Phyllosticta disease.
  • Another disease that causes yellow and brownish spots to appear on the lychee foliage is Lychee leaf Necrosis. It is a fungal disease that erodes the leaves and causes great harm to the tree.
  • Other common Lychee tree diseases include Algal spots, Pink Blight Limb, Anthracnose, Mushroom Rot Root, and Stem Canker.

Fungal pathogens lead to most of the diseases found in Lychee trees.

The best way to prevent such diseases is the pro-active application of preventative fungicide.

In case a particular fungal disease starts to show symptoms, it might not be possible to treat it with general fungicides.

However, using preventative lime and Sulphur sprays at the right time can be of great help.

Temperature Adversities:

Don’t attribute the unwellness of your Lychee tree to any fungal disease, before you’ve ruled out the atmospheric conditions.

Lychee trees are very delicate and require a precise temperature to grow rightly.

They thrive best in subtropical areas with periods of cool and warm temperatures. They adapt best to dry and cool winter weather until they grow mature.

Lychee trees are mostly resistant to fungal diseases. However, most of them are usually caused by excessively warm, wet, and humid conditions.

Too cold temperatures can also cause Lychee leaves to distort. Temperature below (0 C) causes the Lychee foliage to go yellow, brown, or even drop.

It not only affects the leaves, but the fruit growth is damaged and delayed too.

Therefore, before concluding that your Lychee tree is diseased, make sure to take a note of the weather conditions it has been exposed to.

If the weather has been excessively cold, most of the discoloration and distortion might just be the winter damage.

Optimal Lychee Growing Practices:

Whether you have a Lychee tree in your backyard, or you are a groove owner, these rules are always going to work wonders with your Lychee tree.

  • Save your tree from strong winds. Install windbreaks to protect it from any windburns.
  • Offer it full sunlight. Having multiple trees planted in a row often bar the sunlight reaching the subsided trees that leads to their stunt growth. Spare enough radius around every tree to make sure it absorbs sufficient sunlight from all progressions. It is vital for continued optimal growth and fruit production.
  • Provide your tree with an optimal growing environment that offers organic content i.e., mulch, compost, etc.
  • Keep inspecting the growth of your tree. Take note of the shape and color of the leaves along with the fruit production. It can help you diagnose any disease or problem in time and have it treated.
  • Effective fertilization can accelerate the growth of a Lychee tree multifold but keep it moderate and just as needed.
  • Pruning of trees up to 4-6″ after harvesting, allows the tree to grow fuller. It stimulates a better fruit production in the upcoming seasons. A fuller tree allows the shade to the roots that prevents the growth of grass, weeds, and other nutrient-robbing volunteers.
  • Like many tropical trees, A lychee tree grows best in acidic soil. Closely monitor the soil condition and apply reasonable fertilizers to cover up any nutrient deficiency.
  • Make sure the root zone of your Lychee is free of grass, vines, or weeds – the growth of such blocks the nutrients from reaching the root system.

Bringing in use, all the tactics mentioned above are sure to help you achieve a vigorous Lychee tree with fresh and glossy green leaves and abundant fruit production.