There are those who suspect Wildflower Center volunteers are the culpable
and capable culprits. Yet, others think staff members play some, albeit small, role. You
can torture us with your plant questions, but we will never reveal the Green
Guru's secret identity.
I have 20 year old established dwarf yaupon hollies in front of the house that I trim every year and shape the same. This year the new growth that was 2 1/2 " long I noticed the new leaves were curling and falling off. So I have not shaped. All I did this spring was put new hardwood mulch in just like every year before. Then a nursery told me to spray an all around control for mites, aphids, etc which I did but it is not stopping the die back. What should I do?? I live in Rockwall, TX 25 miles east of Dallas
First, please read this previous Mr. Smarty Plants answer partiucularly our comments on the projected age of a yaupon, as we are wondering if your plants could be suffering from old age, which happens. Of course, the dwarf yaupons are not, strictly speaking, in our Native Plant Database, but are cultivars of one of the native yaupons, probably of Ilex vomitoria (Yaupon), since that is the most common yaupon in Texas. We could not find any definitive information on how old they might get, so that didn't help much.
"Q. Our yaupon holly hedge is dying in sections. Do you have a cure?
A. Native yaupon hollies are traditionally sheared and this may be part of the problem. Neat, compact hedges are often marred by dead, brown sections, especially during the summer months. A number of fungal organisms are encouraged by the consistently moist environment among the dense branches to begin growth and cause plant decline.
Try to revive the affected hedge by first pruning the dead portions back into healthy wood. Then apply a fungicide for ornamental plants found at your local garden center. As the hedge recovers, consider training it to a natural and open shape for better air movement among the limbs. This allows drying between rains or waterings. When pruning is needed, resist cutting the stems back to the same height to also encourage more open plant growth and quicker drying that prevents fungal activity."
Since that article refers to plants growing in Florida, the reference to applying a fungicide may not apply in dry Texas. So, we decided to search on the Internet for information on dwarf yaupons, of which there are several. The first thing we found was one of our own Mr. Smarty Plants previous questions specifically on dwarf yaupon, and also from Texas.
Moving farther on the Internet, we found that many of the references on dwarf yaupon were from Florida, so it must be quite popular there. Then, we found this one from the University of Florida Extension onIlex Vomitoria 'Nana' Dwarf Yaupon Holly. This had a good deal more information on the management and culture of this plant and, since you have older plants, 'Nana" is probably the cultivar you have as it was one of the early ones.
We don't feel we have found a definitive answer for you and suggest you contact the County Extension Office for Rockwell County. If this is some kind of blight or disease or insect, they are more likely to know what it is than we are and can hopefully suggest a fix.
More Pruning Questions
Area under live oaks from Austin October 08, 2012 - We have many live oaks in our mostly shaded half acre. While I have tried to plant mostly native plants, often beneath them, the plants are showered with leathery leaves, acorns and sap, while oak sp... view the full question and answer
How can I prune my Texas Mountain Laurels to be more tree-like? March 24, 2011 - I planted several Texas Mountain Laurels last spring and would like to train them to be more tree-like rather than shrub-like. Each is around 36" tall with 5-10 trunks coming from the ground. Where... view the full question and answer
Pruning non-native peach in Austin, TX. June 18, 2015 - I planted two five gallon Texas Star peach trees last February but didn't have the nerve to prune them back to knee height. After having been convinced that this is a good thing to do, I'd like to k... view the full question and answer
Bumelia sending up shoots in Austin November 28, 2010 - I have a bumelia that is sending up shooters everywhere in my yard. Everywhere!! I started to dig them up, but many come from deep roots and my digging seems to have encouraged the tree to send up m... view the full question and answer
What to do with bloom stalk on yucca June 08, 2008 - Six years ago, I dug up two small narrow-leaf yuccas from a deer lease outside of Junction, Texas. I planted them in a raised bed in my yard and the smaller of the two survived and grew. To my surpris... view the full question and answer