Inkberry Holly Issues

Asked October 7, 2019, 1:41 PM EDT

Hi! My inkberry holly leaves are turning brown/black. I assumed it was due to the drought and me not watering it enough (it's been here for 2 years) but after googling i'm wondering if it's anthracnose. Can you tell me what to do? There are a few dark leaves on the plant next to the bad one but not nearly as many.

Baltimore County Maryland shrubs abiotic issues

1 Response

Hi - Unfortunately, this looks like a case of poor establishment after planting. It does not look like a disease or pest issue. Overall decline can occur like this with poor plant material that was root-bound in the original container and/or if the roots were not spread out in the planting hole. If the roots do not establish well into the native soil, the plant will not be able to take up the water and nutrients it needs to support good growth. We also had record-high rainfall last year that was tough on a lot of plants. In saturated soil for extended periods of time, root decay can occur -- again impairing water/nutrient uptake. And then we had a drought this year, increasing plants' demands for water. All that said, the plant that is mostly brown should be removed and replaced. There is nothing you can do at this point to make it recover. For the shrub to the right, make sure it is getting adequate water now that we are in a drought. Feel a few inches down in the soil. If it is dry and warm to the touch, it needs water. If it is cool/moist, the soil moisture should be adequate. Here are tips for watering during drought. https://extension.umd.edu/sites/extension.umd.edu/files/_docs/programs/hgic/HGIC_Pubs/ornamentals/HG85_Watering_tips_drought_2018.2019_rev.pdf

Christa