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

Friday - August 22, 2008

From: Austin, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Non-Natives, Compost and Mulch, Transplants
Title: Browning leaves on non-native Burford holly
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

I have several dwarf Burford hollies whose leaves are browning. The individual leaves have colors of green, dark brown to light brown extending from the stem. Any ideas?

ANSWER:

Ilex cornuta (USDA Forest Service), Burford Holly, is a non-native perennial evergreen shrub. Since it is sometimes referred to as "Chinese" holly, we are assuming that the natural origin is in China or other parts of Asia. They grow best in rich, well-drained, slightly acid soil. At the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center, we recommend the use of plants native to North America and to the area in which they are being grown, because they will be better adapted to the environment, needing less water, fertilizer and maintenance. However, we will try to help you out with some information.

Tea scale (North Carolina Cooperative Extension) is one of the pests that can cause similar symptoms. It apparently originated the same place as the Burford hollies. China and Japan, and was imported into the United States on Camellias.

Aphids (Virginia Cooperative Extension). Light infestations are usually not harmful to plants, but higher aphid populations cause leaf curl, wilting, stunting of shoot growth as well as general decline in plant vigor.

You didn't say when you had planted the bushes. If it was fairly recently, they might be suffering from transplant shock. In which case, trimming off the upper 1/4 to 1/3 of the plant, leaving as many green leaves as possible for nutrition should be your first step. Next, we have a clue in the fact that this plant prefers acid soil, and we all know that in Austin, it's way alkaline. Try working some compost or other organic material in around the roots of the plants, then mulch with shredded bark compost or pine needles. These will not only help the texture and drainage of the soil, but add to the acidity. Now, stick a hose deep down in the soil and let it dribble water slowly until water appears on the surface. If the water stays more than half an hour or so, you have poor drainage, but the continued use of organic material and mulch should begin to address that. And,of course,we always have the fact that this has been a long, difficult, dry Summer in Central Texas and everything, including people, seems to be turning brown and curling. If none of these appear to be the problem, we suggest you contact the Travis County Extension Office, in hopes they will be aware of similar problems in the area and have recommendations.

 

More Transplants Questions

Propagation on bamboo in Washington State
August 30, 2008 - I have been trying for some time to grow bamboo in my garden. They rooted very well in the house but as soon as I put them in a large planter under the fir trees they turned yellow.They have a large h...
view the full question and answer

Mystic Spires salvia in transplant shock
July 04, 2008 - Hello. I live in Taylor, Tx. Just outside Austin, Texas. I recently planted mystic spires. One gallons and will receive the hot afternoon sun. All the research says they can tolerate this location. Th...
view the full question and answer

Division of impatiens grown in a pot
December 08, 2007 - I have an impatient and it is growing out of the pot. I was wondering if it were possible to divide it somehow and have two medium size plants.
view the full question and answer

Conditions for growing Anacacho Orchid in Smithville TX
January 24, 2011 - What conditions (soil type, sun/shade, understory? etc.) to grow a healthy Anacacho Orchid tree? And what is the best size tree to plant?
view the full question and answer

Stress in potted Tif blueberry plants
August 15, 2008 - Recently purchased Tif Blue Blueberry plants (about 3 ft tall)are showing signs of stress. They are in 10 gallon pots. Should they be transplanted? Medium? Fertilizer? Location? Trimming?
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
© 2014 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center