The Q&A Archives: Ilex Little Rascal

Question: I planted about 30 of these for a client in early Nov. Some look okay, but many are experiencing massive leaf drop...i.e. look dying, no leaves left on majority of plant. Any special cultural requirements I don't know about? Thank you.

Answer: It's really difficult to try and diagnose a plant problem without actually seeing the plant and the planting site. Little Rascal hollies don't have any special cultural requirements - at least nothing more than any other holly might need. If the plants did not become established in their new homes prior to cold weather, it's possible what you're seeing is a combination of transplant stress and winter damage. You can prune the damaged parts off to encourage healthy new growth. You might also check the planting site; good drainage is essential. Without it, the roots will sit in soggy soil and suffocate. Dig one or two of the plants up to check the health of the root systems (mushy, odorous roots are sure signs of poor drainage). Hope the Little Rascals perk up soon!

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