Shamrock Inkberry

Asked April 26, 2019, 3:41 PM EDT

I have 6 bushes that I planted last April. They’ve done great, except the last month a decent number of leaves on most bushes are turning yellow, some leaves also have some dark spots. Is this normal? I have read about soil acidity problems, but not sure if I should be concerned. We have had plenty of rain.

Dutchess County New York

1 Response

Thank you for contacting us about your inkberries. Ilex glauca is generally an easy plant to cultivate unless you have alkaline soil. This is one condition that can actually kill the plant. Have you had a soil test done to determine your soil pH? You can have this done by Cornell Extension: They can advise you on fertilization and amendments to your soil if you let them know what plants you are growing.

From your photo, the yellowing appears to be on relatively few leaves. This is not uncommon in especially wet weather. The spots, however, may be a fungal disease called leaf spot which in itself can cause yellowing of the leaves. While not usually fatal, it can be unsightly. There are a few things you can do:

  1. Remove the affected leaves and place them in the trash (do not compost.)
  2. Maintain good sanitation around the shrubs, again placing any detritus in the trash.
  3. In drier weather, you may judiciously thin out the branches in order to maintain good air circulation.