The Q&A Archives: My Holly Tree

Question: Hello, we were in a flooded area during the winter. My Hollies were under water twice. Now the tallest one is all brown, I did put down Hollytone on it when I could. I guess my question is can it come back from this? I am not sure as it is still brown.

Answer: Unfortunately, flooding can kill plants outright due to lack of air at the roots, or it may damage the roots and send the plant into dieback as a result. You can check to see if it is still alive by examining the branches. Begin at the tip and work your way down the branch toward the trunk. Dead wood will be off color, dull gray or brown; it will be brittle and break in your hand. Live wood will be supple and flexible and it will have green inside the bark. You can prune off any dead wood, and if needed trim a bit more to give the plant a roughly symmetrical look.

Hopefully, it will have the strength to releaf from the remaining live wood. (Hollies are able to regrow from hidden buds all along the trunk and branches.) If it is still alive, keep the soil evenly moist like a wrung out sponge. It should not be sopping wet and it should not be dried out.

Also, using a layer of organic mulch about three inches thick spread out in a flat layer over the root area will help keep it evenly moist. Do not be tempted to overfertilize it, Hollytone is a good fertilizer for hollies but do not exceed the amount listed on the label. Good luck with your holly!

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