browning of sections of leaves on my holly

Asked October 5, 2018, 9:01 AM EDT

I planted this row of hollies is about 12 years ago. Generally very healthy. Parts of the plants are browning/dying as per the photos. Any suggestions please?

Howard County Maryland

3 Responses

This is web blight (rhizoctonia fungus), which doesn't usually affect hollies. No doubt this fungus is causing problems this year because of the abnormally wet weather. Normally it infects groundcover.

Web blight does not kill the plant. As you can see from the new tip growth, the stems are still alive.

This is a soil borne fungus which is always around, but not usually a problem in shrubs. So, you can prune out the affected stems (the dead leaves will fall off) or not. If you prune, it will regrow and fill in eventually. Prune in the late winter-early spring (March-April)

To reduce the amount of infectious material in the area, you can rake up the fallen leaves and dispose of them elsewhere.

We are wondering if this holly is a "Blue Prince" or "Princess"?


Thank you so much for the very quick reply. It has been a while and I just checked my folder for landscaping but didn't find the receipt. Long time ago and I haven't googled but are these male and female plants by any chance? I may have bought both. I see that some have berries and some don't.

Regarding the fungus I read that you aren't recommending any anti-fungal treatment, correct? No chemicals, right?

And while I got you and you are so responsive I have a different question - I want to put in some more spruce in my yard as I have two old ones that look like they may be near the end (the top 10% of the tree is the only full part of the tree). (attached photos) I have other younger blue spruce that are doing fine. If indeed there may be a trend in temperature upwards (or let's say in any event) are there any particular spruces you recommend for Maryland? Thanks again.

Blue spruce tend to look fine when younger, then die of cytospora fungus or another canker. Here's the information about it, including a list of alternatives to blue spruce: