Dead Holly

Asked August 2, 2018, 11:32 AM EDT

We have several Holly trees on our property that may be 15-20 years old. All of a sudden one of them died. There hasn't been anything sprayed in the area. We didn't notice anything unusual just one day we looked and it had turned brown. Is something happening to Holly trees that are causing them to die suddenly? We want to protect the other trees so we don't lose all of them so we need to know what may have happened. I have attached a picture of one of the branches.

Wicomico County Maryland

1 Response

There is no disease or pest that would cause a holly tree to die suddenly. It is most likely due to an environmental issue or site conditions. Sudden dieback can occur if there is a root or trunk problem. Is there any physical injury to the trunk of the plant? Was there recent construction around the plant that may have caused soil disturbance or compaction? Is the holly tree that died located in a lower area where water may have pooled during the recent heavy rains? Roots need oxygen to survive so if that particular plant was in an area that was saturated, that could cause root decline. Also, many broadleaf evergreens (including hollies) suffered winter injury due to drought conditions prior to a tough winter. The plant may have been weakened by drought stress and now we have extreme wet weather. Check the trunk for any signs of injury. If it looks clean, then we suspect it might have been a root problem.