Underwatering

The plant needs sufficient water to carry nutrients around, to be present as an ingredient for making sugar, to transpire from the leaf in order to keep a desirable leaf temperature and to maintain turgidity in some plant tissues. In some plant species, leaves change from shiny to dull as a first signal of water stress and also may change from bright green to a grey green. New leaves wilt, but in species such as holly and conifers only the very youngest leaves wilt. Flowers may fade quickly and fall prematurely. Older leaves often turn brown, dry and fall off. Digging a few centimetres into the soil may indicate the need for watering with shallow rooted perennials and annual border plants. Shrubs with deep roots rarely need watering, although transplanted older shrubs may show summer water-stress for a number of years (see also Chapters 9 and 19).

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