Browning holly tree

Asked April 6, 2018, 7:16 PM EDT

Losing whole main braniches on my holly tree. Lost a 3 foot one last week, and now seeing the same on my 20 foot tree. No bugs or obvious growths, any ideas?

Baltimore County Maryland

1 Response

There is a great deal of leaf scorch on hollies this spring due to the dry, cold winter. Broad-leaved evergreens like holly continue to lose moisture during the winter, and the leaves brown, and can die, when their soil is too dry and frozen to replenish the water in the leaves. Do not let your broad-leaved evergreen go into winter in dry soil. We also had a dry autumn last year, which made the impact worse.

Most hollies are not dead! Do not prune or remove them until you are certain. Give them time to leaf out this spring. It has been a long cold spring, and normal leafing has been delayed for that reason, too. Be patient! Do not try to prune out this dead growth yet.

To determine if a branch or shrub is dead, scratch the bark and in a section and look for green underneath, which means it is alive.