Hollies dying

Asked May 29, 2019, 10:22 AM EDT

I live in Anne Arundel County, in Zip 21409. Our property has numerous Hollies. Very recently some of the Hollies are dying. I have about 15 trees that have suddenly (in the last month) dropped all leaves. Our yard is very flat and a lot of the last year we have had very wet soil, including water standing. But I have healthy looking Hollies in the same area. Most of the dead Hollies are in the shade of other trees , but overall my yard is shady and I have healthy trees in the shade. I have taken pictures of the dead trees, dead leaves, and a variety of living trees. I took samples of dead leaves, dead twigs, as well as some healthy ones. pictures for previous note

Anne Arundel County Maryland hollies dieback abiotic issues trees

6 Responses

We have been getting reports of hollies declining this season. We do not know exactly why. This does not appear to be insect or disease related and may be an environmental issue. Last year we had twice as much as our normal rainfall.
In general, if the root systems have been acclimated to a certain environment and the conditions change this affects the roots and the health of the plants; for example standing water, lower spots in the yard, poor drainage, etc.

This is not what you are referring to but wanted to mention that we get a lot of questions on holly leaf yellowing and drop. It is normal for older leaves on hollies to yellow, brown, and drop in the spring. This is normal leaf shedding. https://extension.umd.edu/hgic/topics/normal-leaf-shedding

Marian

So should I cut the dead looking trees down. Branches appear dead. Or wait and hope new leaves appear.
Are the stumps likely to create new growth? Would samples be helpful?




So should I cut the dead looking trees down. Branches appear dead. Or wait and hope new leaves appear.
Are the stumps likely to create new growth? Would samples be helpful?




So should I cut the dead looking trees down. Branches appear dead. Or wait and hope new leaves appear.
Are the stumps likely to create new growth? Would samples be helpful?




So should I cut the dead looking trees down. Branches appear dead. Or wait and hope new leaves appear.
Are the stumps likely to create new growth? Would samples be helpful?




We do not accept plant samples and try to help as best we can with photos and your information.
Scratch the branches with your fingernail and look for green tissue. If you see it, then the branches may be viable. If you see brown, then the branch is dead and you can prune.
If you decide to cut the trees at the base, and there is some root growth they may resprout.

Also, if in a wooded area and not a hazard to structures, you could consider leaving a "snag" or partial tree/tall stump for wildlife use- cavity nesters, woodpeckers etc.
Take a look at the link from DNR on snags and logs https://dnr.maryland.gov/wildlife/Pages/habitat/wasnags.aspx

Marian