At Creative Concepts Landscape we believe that cultivated landscapes, at their best, are a little piece of Eden; an extension of the natural world with our own human touch gently imprinted upon it.


Cultivated landscape can mimic nature, however, they do not exactly align with it. Landscapes are created by us, our company, your hands, human hands. To create and change something means to inevitably bear responsibility for its growth. All cultivated landscape need cultivation, to varying degrees, continually.


Cultivated landscape can mimic nature, however, they need continuous care


A common sight, while looking out over your own little Eden, are yellowing leaves. Sometimes, this is part of the natural process of deciduous plants and trees losing their chlorophyll before the leaves fall in autumn and winter.


But when leaves turn yellow due to health issues, they lose their ability to create chlorophyll (which gives them that green color), and therefore have a diminished or completely disrupted ability to photosynthesize. This yellowing state is called chlorosis.


Sometimes these yellow leaves are the visual manifestation of an imbalance in your landscape. Again, cultivated landscape need continual care to maintain their health and aesthetics.


Creative Concepts Landscape is here to help your landscape stay beautiful and vigorous. Yellowing leaves are a common issue. Let’s take a look at the most frequent underlying problems that create yellow leaves, and what can be done to return the plant to a healthy form.


A healthy, robust landscape is obtainable with a bit of know-how and care


First off, when you see yellowing leaves in the landscape it’s important to ask a couple of simple questions before taking action.


  • Are the leaves of this particular plant supposed to be this color? This is perhaps an obvious question, but it’s one that needs to be asked. Rarely are leaves supposed to be a true yellow, however some plants have yellow-green leaves that might fool the unsuspecting eye into thinking they are unhealthy. Look up the plant type and familiarize yourself with its basic biology.


  • Is this plant/tree deciduous and, if so, is this the season when it typically starts the process of losing it leaves? We basically covered this a moment ago, but it’s an important question. We’ve had clients call to report that their tree is dying when, in fact, it was simply entering its natural stage of dormancy.


Yellowing birch leaves in preparation for the tree’s winter dormancy


If the answer is ‘no’ to these questions, it’s time to take action (which can be picking up the phone and giving us a call: 818 24-7436). If you have an interest in doing your own yardwork, great, this article will give you a few leads.  If not, then we will be discussing what our company will do to help get your plants and trees back on the healthy, verdant track.


Too Much Water


Many people are concerned about their plants not getting enough water. This is sometimes the case, however, we find that many plants are getting too much water.


Creative Concepts Landscape will start by physically checking the soil. If it has not recently rained (within the last 6 to 12 hours) and the soil is sopping wet, then there is a problem. Plants need water to survive and grow, but too much water for an extended period of time will damage the roots, therefore damaging the entire plant.


When the roots are continually inundated with water, they can no longer absorb oxygen and nutrients. The plant or tree’s leaves will lose their ability to photosynthesis, becoming chlorotic (yellowing).


If there is an irrigation system, then it will need to be checked and possibly adjusted. Creative Concepts Landscape has irrigation technicians that will run through and test your entire system. We will then know if the system to supplying too much irrigation and make the proper corrections.


Landscape irrigation systems need periodic checks and maintenance to keep running optimally


If there is a drainage issue, then soil management control will need to be implemented. Sometimes water pools in low areas of the landscape where there is a lack of proper drainage. The remedy for this differs depending on site conditions. Creative Concepts Landscape will be happy to take a look at your landscape and create a proposal specified for your property’s needs.


Too Little Water 


Although the biological mechanics differ when plants lack water compared to having too much water, the results can look the same.


When roots of trees and plants are not receiving enough water, they cannot replenish water lost through the natural process of transpiration (water leaving the plant through the leaves). Again, these plants will become chlorotic with yellow leaves.


Irrigation systems need periodic maintenance to keep them operating well. If there is a broken valve or leak in one part of the system, it can mean that areas of the landscape will not receive a healthy amount of irrigation to keep the plants thriving.



Sometimes dry soil is readily visible from the surface level, but often one needs to check below to see if the soil has enough moisture in it.


Creative Concepts Landscape will check the soil to see if it is dry (especially at a few inches or beyond beneath the top of the soil level). Dry soil at the very top layer is often not an issue, we want soil to be able to drain, however if it is bone dry at 6 inches and beyond, there might be an issue.


Again, we will check the irrigation system entirely to see if there is a disruption or other error in the water flow going to the landscape. Creative Concepts Landscape’s technicians will then make adjustments and recommendations for any needed repairs.


Nutrient Deficiency 


Nutrient deficiency in plants can be a little more complex to diagnose. Soil tests are available to see nutrient levels in the soil, however this does always not directly translate into nutrient deficiencies in the actual plant.


Leaves showing a potential nutrient deficiency


Leaf nutrient analysis is also available and is often more accurate in testing the actual nutrient levels within a plant. These tests can be expensive, and we often find it is not economical for homeowners, but fear not, because many plants benefit from a fertilizer supplement regardless (although not all plants, so we use discretion).


Many native plants to Southern California do not need nutrient supplements. They receive enough from our native soil. They have evolved in our native soil.  However, most plants in the cultivated landscape are not native to our region (although this is changing a bit), and they benefit from periodic fertilizer applications.


These applications usually need to be done just before and at the beginning of the individual plant’s growing season, often early spring. Creative Concepts Landscape will be happy to recommend and implement a fertilizer regiment that is appropriate for your landscape. The proper application of fertilizer is important as carelessness can lead to fertilizer being washed into our sewage and water system. This is a growing issue, especially among commercial agricultural production.


Yellow leaves are a potential sign of many different chemical interactions within your landscape plants. Some are healthy, some are damaging. A little investigation goes a long way, and Creative Concepts Landscape will be happy to investigate and correct any issue to keep your landscape beautiful and efficient.


Whether it’s changing an existing landscape or installing new ones, Creative Concepts Landscape will happily discuss possibilities with you. Take a look at our Yelp page and contact us today (818 248-7436), to see what we can do for your landscape.



By Daniel Williams

Client Liaison for Creative Concepts Landscape Management