Sunburn, scorching, cellular damage. This all happened to a beautiful native plant, Viburnum nudum (Smooth Witherod) that I moved from a shady spot in the backyard to a sunny place by the front door. I had bought a huge, new pottery urn and was trying out different planting ideas for effect. I put the viburnum inside the new pot and decided to leave it a few days to see if I liked it. It rained for a while. I forgot about the urn. Then the sun came out.
Predictably, it was a big jolt to the viburnum’s system to be out in the sun all day. For months before, it had nestled comfortably under the trees, in its original nursery container, amidst a stash of plants I wrote about here. Then, abruptly, it was in sun and heat, both intensified by the temperature inside the urn.
So, no, the leaf-scorching wasn’t caused by over-fertilization or disease or over/under-watering. It was caused by the timing and inattention of the gardener (me). One of those uh-oh moments that happen when you’re paying attention to something else.
Fortunately, the viburnum is starting to recover nicely. It will not suffer permanent damage (I hope). It will remain in the sun, with plenty of water in the final weeks of summer.
Next year, I’ll be more diligent, but don’t you think the sun’s rays are getting more intense and harsh every year? It may require a whole new approach to plant care and garden design.