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Wednesday - July 16, 2014

From: Fort Worth, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Diseases and Disorders, Shrubs
Title: Yaupon hollies dying mysteriously
Answered by: Guy Thompson

QUESTION:

I have a row of yaupon hollies (Ilex vomitoria) that I keep trimmed like a hedge. They were all healthy for many years. Two years ago one of them died and I removed it, leaving a gap in the line of hedges. This year the yaupon next to that one died also, and I cut it off at the stump, leaving a gap of 2 spaces. Now the yaupon next in line shows stress and looks like will die. Can you suggest what the problem is, or what to do? Each time when I saw one of the yaupons stating to die, I watered it deeply once a week. Could the problem be that I watered too much, such that the overwatering affected the one next to the one that was dying? This is in Fort Worth. Thanks in advance for your help. Richard Marshall

ANSWER:

Although Yaupon is not native to the Fort Worth area, it can obviously grow well there, as evidenced by your past success.  However, in times of stress, such as we had in the severe drought two years ago, Yaupon's normal tolerance to pests or disease (see the following article) may be compromised.  I suspect that your plants may be succoming to black root rot.  You might be able to discern signs of root damage as shown here.  

I suggest that you remove the ailing plant and the soil from the affected area and replace the soil with fresh, compost-enriched soil to give the increased acidity that Yaupon prefers.  It may help to drench the soil with a fungicide.  Make certain that the area is well drained to discourage fungal growth.  If you replace the killed plants, try to buy plants that have been grown locally.  They should be better adapted to your region.  Good luck in cultivating this useful shrub.

 

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