How to Manage Pests

Pests in Gardens and Landscapes

Poor water management, poor drainage

Inappropriate watering commonly damages landscape plants. Inadequate water causes foliage to wilt, discolor, and drop. Prolonged moisture and poor drainage results in smaller leaves, dieback or limb drop, and susceptibility to root rots, mineral deficiencies or toxicities, wood-boring insects and other pests that eventually can kill plants. Excessive moisture smothers and kills roots. As roots die, discolored and dying foliage appears in the aboveground portion of the plant.


Maintain adequate but not excessive water in the soil to ensure plant survival and good growth. Examine plants regularly for symptoms of water stress. Monitor soil moisture around the plant's root zone and adjust irrigation according to seasonal need. Soil around young plants during hot weather may need to be monitored daily; every few weeks may be adequate when monitoring around mature trees during more favorable weather.

Do not water established trees and shrubs near the trunk; this promotes root and crown disease. Water plants when needed around the drip line and beyond. Adjust sprinklers or install deflectors to prevent wetting of trunks. Move drip emitters away from the base of the trunk after plants are established.



Branch dieback caused by lack of water
Branch dieback caused by lack of water

Do not overwater
Do not overwater



Statewide IPM Program, Agriculture and Natural Resources, University of California
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