goji berry leaves yellowing and dropping off

Kirtland, NM

I planted goji berry plants this spring. They were very nice looking initially, but their leaves have started yellowing and falling off. Also,the leaf color used to be a darker green, and has gradually changed to lighter green ... before becoming yellow and falling off. I live in NM and have a highly alkaline ph. Can anyone tell me what is happening to the plants and what I can do to save them? Thank You!

Ayrshire Scotland, United Kingdom

First of all, look over ALL the plant. leaves stems etc, your looking for any aphids, small bugs, buried insects etc, at this time do a soil test (you can but one of those very cheaply at garden centre and they cost only a few dollars) don't go spending on a very complicated test kit as the cheaper ones are easier, give great results and easy to understand, if I can use one, anyone can,
If your sure there are no bugs present, pick up and BURN all the leaves and any loose ones should be shaken free or they will continue to fall, they wont return to their green state IF they are as bad as you have said.
Once you get results of your soil test, it will tell you what is the PH of the soil and what's required for growing the fruiting berries you have.
I have no idea what zone you are in BUT it will be a good idea to check the watering your giving, yellow leaves are a sure sign of PH being wrong, water shortage, foliage diseases such as mould, others like fungal or even just struggling in the wrong soil,
Testing the soil will allow you to add more humas to the soil and I do believe all fruit on tree's or shrub / bushes do require lots of humus by adding horse manure (well rotted and odour free, this tells you it has rotted ? Composted enough to use neer plants / roots, home made compost is also great as is shop bought bags of compost as these are made to a recipe that is balance, All these add air, allows moisture to remain longer in the soil especially after watering, it feeds the soil / roots.
I also add Fish /blood /and bone (store purchase from garden centre, already mixed ready to use, Always read the instructions carefully and DONT over feed, the Blood / bone / fish mix is a slow release plant feed and it should last all season, next spring you do the same again.
For a time I would Stick fingers down into soil or fork some soil out and see how dry it really is AFTER you think you have given enough water and re-check each day for maybe 2 weeks, doing this check in between watering, this will help you understand just how much water is getting to the roots as a lot of water just runs off the top soil and cant penetrate down to the roots when it's most important to reach, try NOT soak the foliage as this can cause some foliage fungus to get hold.

If you find the problem is lack of moisture reaching the roots, rake over the top soil to break it up, leave the hosepipe running for ages and when you test to see the soil down at the roots is wet, then use the manure /compost / or other type of mulch as this will help to prevent hydration going too fast.
Another way to help with water in a dry hot place is to dig a hole close to the root area, cut the bottom off a plastic drinks container, place narrow end deep down to roots area, leave about 2 inches above soil, back fill the hole and then use hose to fill the container a few times as this will get the water down to the roots where is needed in really hot dry weather.
Hope all this helps you think how to rectify the situation and you get a nice crop, NOT always good to expect lots of fruit 1st year as the plants need at least one good season to settle into new environment as you are finding out.

Hope all this lets you get things sorted out.
Best Regards.

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