Why Are My Bushes Turning Brown?

Take a step outside your home. What do you love about your yard?

The curb appeal as you drive up—the lush green lawn, the towering trees, and the bushes scattered around adding pops of color.

Or maybe the outdoor living space as you step out back. You added an outdoor kitchen, and you enjoy it throughout the year. Nothing feels better after a hard day at work than sitting in a comfortable place with the family, admiring the beauty of nature all around you.

But what if something is wrong? What if you suddenly notice your landscaping doesn’t look as healthy as it once did?

What if you step outside and wonder: why are my bushes turning brown?

Bushes play an important role in creating a beautiful home. You can’t create the proper outdoor ambiance without different plants, bushes, and trees spread out throughout your property. Whether evergreen or deciduous, bushes play a vital part in any landscaping plan.

However, bushes can take years to reach their full potential. And it can be alarming when you suddenly notice changes in a bush’s health.

Why are my bushes turning brown? Here are a few reasons.


The most common reason is your bush isn’t receiving the proper amount of water. Every bush is different, so it’s important to adjust your watering schedule to provide each bush with its proper watering level.

If just the tips of the bush are turning brown, it might be an indication that the root system isn’t getting the amount of water it needs to thrive. If the whole leaf is turning brown, it’s a sign that the root system is overstressed, and it’s severely underwatered.

When a bush is overwatered, the leaves take on more of a yellow hue. They might appear black along the veins of the leaf. You’ll notice these more frequently when our Pacific Northwest rains provide days of numerous showers.


Why Are My Bushes Turning Brown

While Portland weather might not be as severe as Midwest weather, our temperatures can change quite drastically over the year. An unusually cold spell can bring days of below-freezing weather. And if the past few years have been any indication, our summers often bring long streaks of 90-, even 100-degree days. All of that can take its toll on a bush’s health.

Think of those brown leaves on your bush as communication. It’s your bush’s way of telling you something is wrong.

How old is your bush? When was it planted? Newly planted bushes are more vulnerable to changes than well-established plants. Be sure to water a young plant frequently to help the roots take hold. If the plant is out in the glaring sun, be aware of the hottest days of the year and help it along by erecting a cover to provide some shade. Your bush will usually return to normal once the heat wave has passed.


No matter how well-cared-for your new bush is, or how well protected it is in your yard, you can’t prevent all damage from occurring.

If an insect infestation moves in, it can cause plant leaves to turn brown. A good starting point is to take a closer look at the leaves and around the trunk of the bush. Bagworms, spider mites, aphids, wood borers, leaf mites—there are a wide variety of insects that might take up residence on your bush. They might have come with the plant if it’s new or might settle in if the bush is especially vulnerable.

Backyard animals can also be a problem. Squirrels, deer, birds, raccoons—this list is varied when it comes to what may be causing damage.

The first step you’ll have in learning why your bushes are turning brown is to find the root cause. Only then can you provide the right solution, which ranges from changing your watering schedule to adding fertilizers or insecticides. Mr. Tree can help with both.


If you’ve ruled out watering problems, you know temperature changes aren’t an issue, and you’ve ruled out an insect or animal infestation, it might be a disease.

Like the trees scattered around your yard, your bushes are susceptible to disease too. Check your bush carefully for things like pestalotiopsis tip blight, blossom wilt, powdery mildew, bacterial canker, or other diseases.

A good place to start is to educate yourself on the different types of diseases that can affect your landscaping. The City of Portland lists several different types of conditions that are commonplace around the Portland area. Of course, working with one of our arborists can get to the heart of the problem and begin finding a cure as soon as we visit your home.

Don’t forget that disease changes all the time. As the Portland area continues to see its share of changing weather patterns and fluctuations in the environment, we’re beginning to see additional diseases that weren’t in our local communities before. The only way to catch something early is to diagnose and start a treatment program as early as possible.

Still Asking: Why Are My Bushes Turning Brown?

While you can conduct a simple investigation yourself to determine the root cause, sometimes calling in an expert can make all the difference.

At Mr. Tree, our job is to ensure your yard stays in immaculate condition. When you work with us, we take the time to assure your landscaping is healthy and receiving all the nutrients it possibly needs.

Whether you have a question about planting new vegetation, keeping your trees and bushes looking their best, or removing trees after they are no longer safe to keep in your yard, we’re here to help yo with all your landscaping needs.

Give us a call today.

Have a Tree Emergency?
Call us, 24/7


Mr.Tree, inc crew standing in front of trucks

About Mr.Tree, Inc.

We take pride in our quality service and complete and total customer satisfaction. Our professional and certified arborists have the knowledge and experience to take care of all your tree service needs. We have a highly trained team that is always up to date on all the latest techniques and equipped with the most state of the art tools to handle all your tree care needs. Feel free to browse through our website for more information about the services we offer.

We can help you with everything from lot clearing to tree pruning. We would be more than happy to help you turn your residential or commercial property into something you can be proud of. If you want to use a company that offers the most comprehensive tree services in the area, call Mr. Tree today.

Call us Today!