En EspaŅol

Q. Who is Mr. Smarty Plants?

A: 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.

Help us grow by giving to the Plant Database Fund or by becoming a member

Did you know you can access the Native Plant Information Network with your web-enabled smartphone?

Share

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants is a free service provided by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

Search Smarty Plants
    
 
See a list of all Smarty Plants questions
Can't find the answer in our existing FAQs, submit a question to Mr. Smarty Plants.
Need help with plant identification, visit the plant identification page.
 
rate this answer
Not Yet Rated

Saturday - May 31, 2014

From: Rockwall, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Diseases and Disorders, Pruning, Shrubs
Title: Decline of sheared dwarf hollies from Rockwall TX
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

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

ANSWER:

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.

Then, we found this article from the Orlando Sentinel: Shearing can contribute to Yaupon Holly Decline ; which said:

"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 on Ilex 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 Diseases and Disorders Questions

Cultivar of Cercis Canadensis from Haskell OK
May 16, 2012 - We have a Hearts of Gold Redbud that first had dark edges to many of its leaves (about 2 weeks after planting). It now has multiple leaves w/ medium-dark brown spots on them. Are we looking at some ...
view the full question and answer

Problems with recently planted trumpet vine from Worcester MA
October 20, 2012 - Dear Mr. Smarty Plants, I have a question about my recently planted Trumpet Vines. First of all, I live in Massachusetts, zone 6. The soil is perfect for the two vines, which I bought from a local nur...
view the full question and answer

Spots on non-native naval orange trees from Stockton CA
October 20, 2012 - I have two mature Navel Orange trees. One tree has developed spotty chlorophyl depleted areas that were not on the oranges when they were smaller. In addition, the oranges on both trees are smaller ,...
view the full question and answer

Problems with a two year old persimmon tree in Fredricksburg, TX.
May 22, 2013 - Hi Mr/Ms Smarty Plants, We planted a 4-ft Texas Persimmon, Diospyros texana, 2-years ago, with wonderful leaf and fruit production since. We recently had a hail storm (5/9/13) and although mos...
view the full question and answer

Problems with gaura in Kyle TX
May 10, 2011 - Gaura - I seem to have something going on with this plant. I've tried fungicide that also works on mealy bugs and spider mites, etc., but they're looking rather puny? Any suggestions? thanks
view the full question and answer

Smarty Plants's Facebook profile Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.

Mr. Smarty Plants wants you to be his Facebook friend. Click the Facebook icon to add yourself to Mr. Smarty Plants list of friends.
E-NEWSLETTER | BECOME A MEMBER | DONATE NOW | MEDIA | SITEMAP | STAFF
© 2015 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center