What Kills Plants the Most?

What Kills Plants the Most?

What Kills Plants the Most?

Manicured gardens can be stunning, but sometimes invasive or unwanted plants and trees take over where they shouldn’t. When this happens, you’ll need an effective way to eliminate them quickly.

One quick and efficient method for killing plants quickly is boiling water. Be sure to wear protective gear and handle the scalding liquid with caution.


Overwatering our plants not only damages their health, but can even lead to death. But if you learn the warning signs of overwatering and take steps to prevent it, you can save your beloved plant!

Overwatering can be a major issue because it restricts oxygen supply to plants, leading to root rot and eventual death.

Overwatering can also encourage fungus gnats to become a problem. These pests enjoy moist potting mix and will feed on your plant’s small roots, eventually killing it off.

Overwatering can also cause soil nutrients to be lost, particularly in plants with poor drainage such as houseplants. This issue is especially critical when watering too often.

Once you’ve identified the issue, it’s essential to act swiftly and treat any symptoms so they don’t worsen. Here are some of the most common indications that your plant has been overwatered:

OVERWATERED LEAVES: Leaves that have turned yellow or brown are an early warning sign that the plant is struggling with too much water. In most cases, these leaves will have wilted, but if they’re still healthy you can give them time to dry out.

BROWN LEAF TIPS: Leaf tips that have turned brown and crispy may indicate excessive water in the soil. If you’re uncertain, stick a finger into it to see how much moisture there is.

Healthy plants typically have white and firm roots, while waterlogged ones will show black or brown roots. If yours appears to have rotting roots, use sharp gardening shears to trim them away and repot with fresh soil.

SLOWER GROWING PLANT: Overwatered plants may experience slower growth and fewer blooms due to lack of oxygen, making their leaves less sensitive to stress from overwatering.

REPOTTING: If your plant’s roots have become infected and you can salvage it, repot it with new potting soil and give it a good soak before returning it to its container. Make sure the soil drains well; replacing it frequently helps prevent root rot!


Waterlogging is the excessive or uncontrolled flow of water onto soil through rain or irrigation practices. This can be a major cause of crop death for many varieties, especially those which cannot survive waterlogged conditions.

Typically, this occurs due to heavy and persistent rainfall. It may also occur in areas that are inadequately irrigated or lack effective drainage systems.

Waterlogged soil can become saturated, forming a hard layer known as “crust”. This can be devastating to crops and plants alike.

Furthermore, air pollution blocks the roots of plants from accessing oxygen and carbon dioxide, hindering their ability to grow. This is because oxygen and carbon dioxide are necessary for plant development.

As a consequence, they become stunted and eventually die off. This can be avoided through timely detection and treatment of waterlogged soil.

Waterlogging plants typically respond to waterlogging by storing CO2 in their leaves. This gaseous carbon then serves as a replacement for lost oxygen.

Some plants utilize a gas film on their leaf surface that promotes O2 absorption in darkness and CO2 production in sunlight, helping reduce energy loss from photosynthesis (Winkel et al., 2016; Kurokawa et al., 2018).

Waterlogged soils often experience reduced nitrate concentrations, decreasing the available nitrogen for plants to use. Nitrogen is an essential nutrient for life; when not provided by the soil, nitrification takes place and this vital nutrient is lost to plants.

Nitrification slows the growth of crops and increases their mortality rate. To prevent this from occurring, add extra nutrients to the soil and block bacteria responsible for nitrification from taking hold.

Due to this increase in plant stress, several proteins involved in metabolism and growth may experience altered expression levels. These include UGPase, PFK-B, and ADH.

Protein levels that rise can stimulate cellulose synthesis in the seed, delaying the onset of boll weight decline caused by waterlogging.


Insects are one of the most destructive pests for woody and herbaceous plants. These insects can damage plant foliage, buds and stems alike.

In general, insect pests can be divided into seven major orders (i.e., species-specific taxonomic groups). Each order has distinctive features associated with its presence in gardens that help us understand what damage these pests cause to ornamentals and vegetables as well as help identify them on a given plant.

Most insect pests have a body plan with wings covering the abdomen (see Figure 1), with wings used for flight and an abdomen that functions in reproduction, digestion and waste elimination as well as breathing through minute spiracles or openings located there.

Wings can also be used for light detection and limited image perception by insects (Borer et al, 1989). All insects with wings possess mouth parts which serve as feeding organs, chemical sense organs, or to spread diseases.

Homopteran insects, including all lace bugs and some adelgids, are a major pest of woody and herbaceous plants. At rest they have four wings with roof-like structures over their bodies (see Figure 2) and utilize their piercing-sucking mouthparts for sap uptake by plants.

Homopteran damage typically manifests itself in the form of yellowing, premature leaf drop, curling or puckering of leaves and stunted growth on plants such as azaleas, rhododendrons and andromeda hollies. These signs are usually visible during springtime on a variety of plants including azaleas, rhododendrons and andromeda hollies.

Lace bugs get their name from their wing shape that resembles lace fabric (see Figure 26). As they feed, damage begins as dots on the undersides of leaves which develop into surface spots. With increasing populations, leaves turn pale white or yellow and show signs of curling or dropping leaves.

Another well-known insect pest is the aphid, a parasitic and non-lethal parasitic insect that infests various vegetables and fruit. This pest lays eggs on plant tissues before feeding on juices from these produce. Aphid infestations can be severe and difficult to eradicate; unfortunately, many pest control methods fail in such instances.

Poor Air Circulation

Air movement is essential when it comes to houseplants. Not only does it aid with water evaporation and condensation on leaf surfaces, but it can also make growing limbs stronger by keeping mosquitoes at bay. Maintaining good ventilation around your plants – particularly during the winter months – will increase their longevity considerably.

Though poor air circulation may not be the first thing that comes to mind when thinking of indoor houseplants, it can be one of the leading reasons your green friends suffer. This could be a result of your home’s layout or what plants you choose for indoor placement, but usually the solution is as easy as turning on a fan – for optimal results, choose an oscillating model. When selecting plants for indoor placement near windows with good breezes, opt for varieties that can survive year-round in these warm climates. When in doubt about anything related to your indoor plants, don’t hesitate to reach out Ben’s Houseplant Service experts today!

Krystal Morrison
Krystal Morrison

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