6 Simple Ways to Fix Sunshine Ligustrum Thinning

Sunshine ligustrum tree thinning mainly indicates the direction of leaf shedding.  Sunshine plants can drop their leaves for a variety of reasons. The main reasons are Watering Issues,  Lack of Sunlight, Poor Soil, Extreme Cold and Frost, Excess Fertiliser, and Pests Infestation. 

But you are not alone in facing this. Most gardeners have to deal with such problems. So it is necessary to focus on finding a solution without getting frustrated.  

In this article, I will tell you about all the possible causes and remedies for thinning of Sunny Ligustrum trees. So stay with me and read the article carefully.

Quick Care Guide

Sunshine Ligustrum Care

Watering IssueApply water twice a week.
Lack of Sunlight5-6 hours of direct sunlight every day is a must.
Poor SoilWell-drained and neutral soil is recommended.
Extreme Cold and FrostUse a blanket to cover the whole tree at night.
Excess FertiliserApply fertilizer once a year.
Pests InfestationA good quality insecticide is recommended.

How to Fix Sunshine Ligustrum Thinning

Sunshine Ligustrum Growth Habit

1. Watering Issue

Both under-watering and over-watering are responsible for sunshine ligustrum plant thinning.

If you do not apply enough water to your plants, they will become dehydrated very quickly. When leaves do not receive enough water, their biochemical processes will be disrupted and the leaves will turn brown, shrivel and drop. Which will make the plant thin.

Again, even when your plants don’t need water and you keep on applying it, again and again, the excess water will cause the plants to become waterlogged. If this happens for a long time, the plant will not be able to absorb oxygen and other nutrients from the soil with the help of the roots.  

Also, wet soil is conducive to the breeding of insects. As a result, your sunshine ligustrum plant will be thinning.   

Control Measure

Sunshine ligustrum generally prefers moderate watering. Applying water twice a week to mature plants is sufficient. However, watering a ligustrum plant sometimes depends on the weather. You have to understand it.

Water should be applied to the soil for a few days before planting the tree. Water should be applied frequently after planting. You should use a pot with enough holes to plant your sunshine ligustrum.

It is better not to use ordinary tap water. In that case, you can use a water filtering machine. If not possible, keep tap water in a container for a day or two, then apply. Rainwater application is best.      

2. Lack of Sunlight

Sunlight is important for all plants, but different plants have different sun requirements. If we look at sunshine ligustrum when the plant is in a place that receives less sunlight, the plant will droop after a few days, the leaves will lose vitality and the leaves will drop.

This means that whenever your plant receives less sunlight, it will disrupt its photosynthesis process. Leaves cannot produce enough nutrients to supply themselves and other parts of the plant. As a result, the leaf cells will begin to die and if this continues for a long time, the leaves will drop and the plant will thin out.

Control Measure

Five to six hours of direct sunlight every day is a must for sunshine ligustrum plants. So you need to keep your plant in a place where it will get morning sun. If the plant is in your room, move it to an east-facing window or balcony. 

If the plant is in the landscape, plant it somewhere besides your home or garage where it will receive both sunlight and shade.

And If the plant is small you can move it easily. But if it is mature then you need to use a shade cloth to avoid the excess sun. The cloth should be of light color.

You can use a mirror to make sure the plant gets enough sunlight. Place it in a location where direct sunlight can reflect and shine on your plants.       

3. Poor Soil

Do you know what mistake most gardeners make when planting trees? This is soil selection.  Your plant will never grow well in poor soil. Poor soil is also responsible for thinning sunshine ligustrum trees.

If your soil pH is not correct, your soil does not circulate enough oxygen, the soil lacks other nutrients, it is always wet, and the soil does not have well drainage, you will find that the plant loses its vitality quickly. Leaves are turning yellow and falling off.

Control Measure

Basically, well-drained soil is suitable for sunshine ligustrum plants. Soil should be selected that does not retain excess water. You can add more organic matter, dry leaves, and clay to your plant soil to increase its drainage capacity.

Measure the pH of the soil with a pH meter. (Our Pick: SONKIR Soil pH Meter, MS02 3-in-1 Soil Moisture/Light/pH Tester)

The soil in the pH range of 6.5-7.5 is best for Sunshine ligustrum. If the pH is low, dolomite lime or agricultural lime should be applied to the soil. If the pH is high, it can be easily controlled by applying aluminum sulfate.

It is good to use organic compost fertilizers to improve soil quality. In addition, earthworms provide sufficient oxygen to the soil and increase the quality of the soil. You can also apply this.

4. Extreme Cold and Frost

Temperature is very important for sunshine ligustrum plants.  Excessively cold temperatures and snow are among the causes of thinning of your tree. If you plant your tree in the spring, chances are it will face severe winters and snow. Even if you plant it in mid-autumn, you’ll still run into a problem.

In excess of cold, plant cells cannot function properly. The photosynthesis process is also disrupted due to the lack of required heat. As a result, the leaves of the tree fall quickly and the tree becomes thin. 

Besides, heavy snowfall damages the leaves and various parts of the trees, which do not recover.

Control Measure

The first thing you should consider is the timing of planting to protect your plants from winter and snow.

You can plant the tree in late summer, avoiding the risk of frost. Generally, from the end of winter, preparations for the production of new seedlings have to be made.

There are a few techniques I use to protect mature trees from frost. Snowfall is usually the heaviest at night. So at night, the plant should be wrapped with an old blanket or thick cloth.  Believe me, it is very effective.

But the cover must be opened to ensure sunlight in the morning.

5. Excess Fertilizer

Applying too much fertilizer can cause fertilizer burn and thin your sunshine ligustrum plant. It’s true that your plants need nutrients for normal growth, but over-fertilizing will do your plants more harm than good.

You can easily understand that your plants have been over-fertilized by seeing some signs.  such as fertilizer crust on the soil’s surface. 

Lower leaves are becoming yellow and withering, browning of the leaf edges and tips, weak, browned, or blackened roots, Defoliation, Very little to no growth, and death of young plants are the main symptoms..

Control Measure

Frequent growth of your sunshine ligustrum requires a generous application of fertilizer. You should apply this fertilizer once a year in spring or summer. Fertilizers should never be applied during winter.  

Before the application of fertilizers, the plants should be well watered. A slow-release NPK (10-10-10) can be a good choice. If you realize that your tree is suffering from fertilizer burn, you need to take immediate action. 

First of all, excess fertilizers spread on the soil should be removed. Salt accumulated in the soil cover should be removed by applying large amounts of water. If this does not work, it is necessary to change the soil.

6. Pests Infestation

If your sunshine ligustrum suddenly starts losing leaves and you notice something unusual around it, it is likely due to a pest infestation. Scale, mealybugs, and spider mites are the most common pests. 

So how would you recognize them? Spider mites are oval-shaped, gently bristles, and pale green when they are young. They gain noticeable dark green markings as they age. 

Mealybugs are white insects without legs or wings. scales can be up to 1/4 inch long and range in color from brown to cottony white depending on the species.

Control measure

A top-notch insecticide can easily solve your problem. You might want to avoid using synthetic substances. In that case, I prepare a powerful organic insecticide at home on my own. If you want, you can also try it. You’ll need water, Neem oil, soap solutions, and vinegar.

Put two spoons of soap solutions and three spoons of neem oil in a medium-sized container to start. Stir thoroughly after adding 200-250 ml of water. Then add one spoon of vinegar to it. Shake the mixer gently. Your neem oil insecticide is ready. Apply it daily for two weeks.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What is the best fertilizer for sunshine Ligustrum?

You can use a slow-release shrub and fertilizer, ideally, one that contains sulfur or iron, to fertilize them in the spring. Natural organic plant food is another option for feeding.

Can you keep Sunshine Ligustrum small?

The Sunshine Ligustrum can potentially reach heights of 6 feet and a width of 4 feet. However, ligustrum can also withstand pruning, so you can maintain it at the size that best suits your needs.


Thinning of sunshine plants is not a very complicated problem. So you don’t have to worry too much about it. 

However, if a problem occurs, it is important to solve it quickly. In this article, I have discussed all possible solutions. I hope your tree will benefit from my experience. Happy gardening.

James Rivenburg
James Rivenburg
James Rivenburg

James Rivenburg is the founder of plantandpest.com, a passionate gardener with valuable experience and knowledge gained through trial and error. The website has a large community of followers who trust his tips and techniques and have succeeded with his advice. He is always Committed to helping others create a beautiful and healthy garden.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *