Edible Gardening

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

5 July 2020

Do you want to know why lychee leaves turn brown?

If there had to be a 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 a grape but tastes much sweeter.

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

Does your garden have lychee trees that stand high and produce mouth-watering treats?

Lychee trees undoubtedly add beauty to your garden. But a widespread 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, stick hard and continue reading to spot the causes and respective solutions to this problem.


Windburn is the most common and natural reason for the distortion of lychee leaves. As your lychee tree flushes new growth, the newly grown leaves are too sensitive and tender to stand the strong wind. Even moderate wind, less than 15-20 mph, can damage these leaves.

Not just that, in the initial growth stages, the lychee tree imports and utilizes all its stored energy, such as electrolytes, sugar, and starch. If damaged in the earlier stages of growth, less reserve is left. A lesser reserve ultimately lessens the chance of rejuvenation or re-growth. Inspect the leaves thoroughly to determine whether Windburn is causing damage to your tree.

If only half of your tree shows brown spots, that signifies Windburn.

How To Fix It?

The easiest way to protect your lychee trees from being damaged by wind is to grow banana or bamboo trees near your lychee tree. A banana tree is preferable 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, great 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, several fertilizers can be used to accelerate the growth process or achieve better growth. Not to forget, ‘Excess of everything is bad.’ So make sure the frequency and quantum of fertilizers used are precise enough.

While fertilizers 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 entirely after rainfall (leading to the tree’s death). However, time-release fertilizer releases nutrients only when the pellets are exposed to water. It helps to achieve 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 more than once 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.

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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 indicate an imbalanced watering. The primary reason for this could be too much or too little watering. To diagnose a watering problem, environmental conditions also need to be considered.

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.

How To Fix It?

Lychee trees don’t demand much watering, but they should be allowed to grow their vigorous roots. However, drought-stressed trees may need to be watered frequently and deeply to help them adjust to extreme weather conditions.

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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,

If this happens, the bark of a lychee tree may crack open. Pink limb blight causes pink to white lesions on or even under the bark of a lychee tree.

Once infected, the section will wilt and die, together with the lychee leaves. Fungal pathogens lead to most of the diseases found in Lychee trees. The best way to prevent such diseases is to apply preventative fungicides proactively. If 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 significantly help.

Constricted roots

If the lychee tree doesn’t have enough room to grow, its roots might become constricted, limiting water access. Another solution to this problem is to water the lychee tree frequently or replant it to a more favorable location.

Damaged roots

If there is not enough space for the root system to grow deeper or the roots drowned in too much water, it might damage the roots of your lychee tree, turning its leaves brown. You must then allow its roots to recover by watering it less and pruning.

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 primarily resistant to fungal diseases. However, most are caused by hot, wet, and humid conditions. Too cold temperatures can also cause Lychee leaves to distort. Temperature below 0 degrees causes the Lychee foliage to go yellow, brown, or even drop. It affects the leaves, and the fruit growth is damaged and delayed.

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

If the weather has been freezing, most of the discoloration and distortion might be 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.

The abovementioned tactics will help you achieve a vigorous Lychee tree with fresh, glossy green leaves and abundant fruit production.

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