The Q&A Archives: Ilex Meserveae Not Doing Well

Question: Last year I planted 3 Blue Princess Holly shrubs 2-1/2 ft tall on the north side of my house. Over the winter one had the bark chewed & was totally dead this spring (rabbits or mice). The other 2 don't show any bark damage but have lost their lower leaves, and the remaining leaves look sickly and kind of yellow. Can I save these 2 by cutting back hard now? They are in raised beds but the soil is clay which I amended with peat moss & topsoil before planting. What can I do for them?

Answer: Based on your description it is difficult to diagnose the problem, however hollies require an acid soil and it should be evenly moist but not water logged. You might want to investigate the soil conditions and see what is happening there. Wind burn can also cause yellowing, so it may be a matter of protecting them from wind the first winter or two while they become established. Your county extension may be able to help you test the soil and interpret the results as well as trouble shoot based on examining the foliage.

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