Ligustrum Dropping Leaves

September 16, 2008 | By | Comments (4)

Q: Steve,

I have a tree-shaped ligustrum at the corner of my house that drops 30-40 leaves every day of the year. It’s in full sun and is watered regularly. Otherwise, it seems healthy. Is this normal?


A: I think you’re dealing with the nature of the beast. Even leaves of broadleaf evergreens don’t usually live more than a year, then they drop and are replaced by new leaves. If you live in a mild-weather area where plants basically grow year-round, you’re going to see dropping leaves almost year-round. The only other cause I would look for is an infestation of some sort of sucking insect, like aphids or scales, on the leaves and stems.



  1. Sarah Parks

    Could you please tell me what would cause about 1/3 of an otherwise healthy green ligustrum to have yellow leaves……the bush has had the condition for at least six months and in spite of iron, lime, slow release fertilizer it never seems to get any better or worse and there is not any significant leaf drop.

    Thank you,
    Sarah Parks

    January 19, 2016 at 12:00 pm
  2. Paul Wallis

    I have a 10 year old ligustrum bush it was very healthy until recedntly when it started dropping leaves and now it is almost bare. Is there anything i can do to treat the bush I am afraid of loosing it. Please advise me.

    April 12, 2015 at 10:25 am
  3. Grumpy Gardener aka His Excellency

    Even the leaves of evergreens don’t live forever. They live for a year or two, then drop, and are quickly replaced. This often happens in early spring ot late summer. It sounds like your ligustrum is fine. As long as the older, inner leaves are the ones dropping and not the new, outer leaves, your plant should be OK.
    Having said that, if tan spots with dark brown margins cover many of the leaves, your plant could have Cercospora leaf spot, which often shows up in late summer following wet weather. Spraying the foliage according to label directions with a systemic fungicide called Immunox should control the disease. You can get this product at the garden center.

    September 3, 2009 at 7:08 am
  4. Marjorie Matthews

    My Ligustrum tree is dropping many leaves (A Lot) and has spots on each leave’s, It seems to have new growth at the ends of branches, But the tree does not look healthy.
    Could it be 2 much water ?
    Does it need fertilizer ?
    Does it have a fungus ?
    Yourc omments would be appreciated

    September 2, 2009 at 3:35 pm

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