The Q&A Archives: Gold Coast English Holly Leaf Drop

Question: I'm having problems with a holly called Gold Coast English Holly. It was planted last fall (October)in a raised bed along a foundation facing east, so it gets the morning and mid-day sun and then shade after 2 pm. This spring there was a lot of new growth, but since then it has been suffering from leaf drop - most of the mature leaves have fallen off (and continue to do so). I have it mulched, have fertilized with Miracle Grow, and water it regularly. What could be causing the leaf drop?

Answer: Based on your description I suspect it may be overwatered. Your goal in watering is to keep the soil slightly damp like a wrung out sponge, not sopping wet or saturated and not dried out. To know if you need to water, dig into the soil with your finger. If it is still damp, do not water it yet. When you do water, water slowly and thoroughly so it soaks down deep to the deepest roots. To check your watering, wait a few hours then dig down and see how far the water went; sometimes it can be surprising. Also, using an organic mulch several inches thick in a flat layer over the root area will help keep the soil cool and moist as well as feed the soil slowly as it breaks down over time.

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