How do plants become over fertilized

Leaching

Excess nutrients and salt need to be removed by a process called leaching. Leaching is the movement of nutrients down through the soil via watering. Leaching washes the extra nutrients out of the soil or below the root zone which allows the plant to begin the recovery process.

Plants in Containers

Check the surface of the soil around the plant for a white crust. Soluble salts from the crust can make their way to the roots and cause more harm during leaching. The crust needs to be carefully removed from the rest of the soil. Remove no more than one-quarter inch of soil from the surface. Sometimes the crust is hard enough that it can be picked out in large chunks. Be careful not to remove too much soil along with the crust. Removing too much can stress the plant even more. Leaching can begin once the crust is removed.

Saving a plant from fertilizer damage is relatively simple and quick to do. For container grown plants, use room temperature distilled water and fill the container to the top edge. Distilled room temperature water is the best water to use because it contains no dissolved minerals and will not add further stress. Filtered water can be used if distilled water cannot be obtained. Allow all the water to drain from the plant. Large containers will take quite a while to drain so have patience. Repeat this about 4 times. Excess fertilizers will be washed from the soil and drain through the bottom of the container.

Plants in the Ground

Place a garden hose at the base of the plant. Turn the water on just enough to produce a steady trickle. Allow the hose to run for a while so that adequate water runs through the soil to leach the fertilizers past the root zone of the plant.

Remove Dead or Dying Foliage

Foliage that is discolored and dying should be removed along with dead foliage. The plant will never be able to heal affected foliage and the plant should not waste any further energy on damaged foliage. New foliage will be produced once the plant begins to recover from fertilizer damage.