The Q&A Archives: Sky Pencil Hollys dying?

Question: About 8 weeks ago I planted 6 1 gallon sky pencil hollys in my front yard. I tilled the soil and added a soil conditioner mix and 13/13/13 fertilizer as well as planted mungo grass and mulch. They looked great until about a week ago and now I am concerned that they are dying, although the mungo grass looks fine. A couple of weeks ago I sprayed the front yard (and hollys) with Scott's liquid weed and feed, but I have done nothing other than that. The leaves are brown and appear almost burnt. They are very dry despite 8 inches of rain and regular watering, and I am wondering what to do. Any help would be appreciated. I can return the hollys to Home Depot, but if they can be saved I would prefer to do that. I also do not want to repeat the process.

Answer: Dan,

I am sorry for this delayed reply to your gardening question. The spring rush has brought a deluge of questions and we are working hard to catch up!

I guess if you got some of the weed and feed on them that could be a problem. However by your description I suspect that soil moisture extremes may be the cause. Both dry soil and soggy wet soil can kill roots and cause symptoms of top death. Damage in transplanting or putting dry fertilizer in the planting hole can also result in root death and top dieback.

Thanks for the question. Best wishes for a wonderful gardening season. Please stop in again soon!

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