Sky pencil leaves turning brown

Asked August 22, 2019, 7:19 PM EDT

Several sky pencils been planted for over a year. Just noticed leaves are starting to turn brown on some of them. Is this from lack of watering and the extreme heat over the last two months. What can be done to save them.

District of Columbia County District of Columbia disease issues shrubs abiotic issues

3 Responses

This symptom is an indicator of a root problem. Japanese hollies (of which 'Sky Pencil' is a type) are susceptible to root rot. There is no curative treatment for it, unfortunately.

The fact that several relatively newly planted shrubs are having the problem suggests they are not suitable for the site where they were planted or are being stressed in some way. They are very sensitive to overly wet sites. Once plants are stressed, they can become susceptible to disease/pest problems.

You may want to replace them with a more appropriate species, such as native inkberry hollies (Ilex glabra), which are less prone to root problems.

Christa

Thanks. So this is not stress from the extreme heat weve been having? Ive barely watered this in the last two months.

The pattern of browning (whole branch sections) is indicative of a root problem. If it were heat/drought stress, the symptoms would be more uniform across the whole plant(s). You can try pruning out the dead sections, keep the plants watered during dry periods, and see if you get new growth next year.

Christa