Hollies turning brown

Asked May 2, 2016, 12:09 PM EDT

We have many large mature hollies and some younger ones. Several of them have with large areas of brown leaves. I can't see many spots, a few have some but most have just turned brown. The affected areas are not in the exposed areas where frost could have gotten them? Any ideas? Five of about 20 plants are affected. They are not all the same kind of holly. This is a large property and because we are so close to the c and o canal and an abundance of deer hollies are one of the few plants we can grow (although the deer do eat them!). We have planted them densely for screening. They are mixed with nandina. Thank you,

Montgomery County Maryland shrubs hollies browning

1 Response

There may be several reasons for the browning such as winter damage, a broken branch , or possible root issues.
Some of the hollies may have been subject to winter damage. Old foliage should drop and new foliage may emerge. The foliage can be slow to develop. It is possible some of the branches may be dead. Scratch the branches and look for green tissue. If you see it then the branches may be viable. Be patient before you prune. See our website for more information on winter damage. http://extension.umd.edu/hgic/winter-damage-trees-and-shrubs

If it is one branch that is brown, then you need to see where it is attached and make sure the branch is not broken. If so, prune back to healthy tissue.
You may also be dealing with some root issues - poor soils, poor drainage, competition for moisture and nutrients, etc.
All you can do is prune dead wood and Monitor the hollies during this growing season. Send us photos if you notice symptoms.
mh