I have 2 Monrovia holly bushes about 10 yrs old that got severe winter burn...

Asked March 21, 2014, 12:31 AM EDT

I have 2 Monrovia holly bushes about 10 yrs old that got severe winter burn this winter The top 3/4 of both are brown. What if anything canI do to resuect them? They are the ones w/ male & female plants are on the bushes

McHenry County Illinois

1 Response

Evergreens are very susceptible to dehydration in the winter. To prevent winter burn make sure your shrubs are well watered until the ground freezes. If they are exposed in areas with wind and lots of sun a burlap windbreak/screen can be very helpful. Anti- desiccant sprays must be renewed every 3 weeks or so and have not been shown to be very helpful so good watering practices and a wind/sun screen are the best things to do. Now that you have the damage what to do -- give the holly some time to see if it will recover this spring. Look for new growth -- do you have dead leaves or do you have dead branches, that is what you will want to determine. Make sure your hollies receive adequate moisture. The damage (top 3/4 of plant) sounds extensive but the plants may recover do not do anything drastic until you have definitive evidence that they are not going to come back. If you see no new growth when spring is well advanced, then peel back a piece of outer bark on a branch tip. If it is crisp and shows no green that area is dead, if your whole shrub is like that then they will have to be replaced.
This has been a very difficult winter and I am sure many of us are going to find we have lost some perennials and shrubs or young trees. Just remember for the future an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.