Dragon Lady Holly

Asked June 25, 2018, 5:07 PM EDT

We planted 5 Dragon Lady hollies on the east facing side of our lawn. They are open to DE. wind with no protection. Although they were mulched heavier than we normally do, they should drain properly as they sit on the top of a slightly elevated area of our property. They were transferred and planted from Wye Nursery in MD. the same day they were planted in our lawn, Millsboro, DE. mid- August in hot heat! They did not seem stressed at all last year and they made it through the winter with no problems. I sprayed Neem Oil on them last fall also bc we saw tons of flies munching on something on the tops of most of the trees. The wet spring brought a small amount of leaf drop with some yellowing leaves on 4/5. I fed them all Holly Tone at that time in early spring and 4/5 have seen new growth and little to no droppage since that time. 1 tree continued to have leaf droppage with bare branches this spring and summer. I trimmed the tree of some dead branches on the top and in one area at the base. Now, just in the last 3 days, almost every leaf has fallen off of the 1 tree, June 23-25, 2018. I don’t see any insects. The only thing different about this tree is that we had a suet cake in it all winter.Enclosed pictures.

Sussex County Delaware

1 Response


Dragon Lady hollies are a cross with the Meserve hybrids, usually good in corner , sheltered areas next to homes. They can stand the cold, but do not like wind and do not do well in bright sunny areas. It takes trees and shrubs up to two years to become established, and I usually recommend that you do not fertilize them the first year, as they have not developed fine feeder roots to take up excess water and fertilizer salts. I also recommend that you water trees and shrubs deeply once a week if there is no rain, do not use a sprinkler system that runs every day for a short time. I'm not sure what the soil is like or how good the drainage is for that one tree that dropped leaves. Given the winter we had with fluctuating temperatures and drenching rains, I suspect this is environmental stress and possibly a root issue. A root issue, either poor root development or root rot will show up as yellowing leaves, smaller than normal leaves, or leaf drop.

I suspect the twigs are still pliable and green. Wait until we get more moderate weather and see if the shrubs leaf out again. Do not fertilize again this year, give them a chance to settle in. You can also contact the nursery who installed the planting to see if they guarantee their items.

Thank you for contacting Cooperative Extension,