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
27 ratings

Friday - May 01, 2009

From: Dallas, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Compost and Mulch, Diseases and Disorders, Shrubs
Title: Older leaves yellowing on Savannah holly in Dallas
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

I planted a Savannah Holly in Dallas, TX in the Fall of 2008. It has new growth and some white buds all over it, but some of the older leaves are turning yellow and dropping off. Is this normal?

ANSWER:

There are thirteen members of the genus Ilex (holly) in our Native Plant Database, but none of them have the common name "Savannah." That is probably a trade name assigned by a grower to a hybrid of North American natives Ilex cassine (dahoon) and Ilex opaca (American holly). Even though both parents are natives, the "x" indicates a hybrid, and we do not have hybrids in our Native Plant Database.

According to the USDA Forest Service website Ilex x attenuata 'Savannah', the yellowing leaves sound like symptoms of chlorosis. Ilex opaca (American holly), in particular, likes acid soils, which you are not likely to have in Dallas. The problem is probably due to alkalinity in the soil beyond the plant's preferences. The alkalinity in the soil keeps the soil from accessing trace elements in the soil. this leads to iron deficiency. Suggested fixes were sprays of iron chelate, sulfur, and iron fertilizer. We prefer adding compost to the soil and mulching the roots with shredded wood bark, on a continuing basis. The compost will help with access to the trace elements, improve drainage in the soil, and help hold in moisture. The mulch protects the roots from heat and cold, holds in moisture, and as it decomposes, continues to amend the soil. 

 

More Compost and Mulch Questions

What will grow in red clay in Conroe TX?
April 10, 2011 - We just built a new home and the foundation was poured on red clay which is what my flowerbed area is in. Could you please tell me what can be planted that will grow. I am looking for ground cover, fl...
view the full question and answer

Dividing blackeyed susans in Lake Ronkoko NY
July 06, 2009 - How are you supposed to divide blackeyed susan's? And when is the best time to do this?
view the full question and answer

Can non-native coleus grow in mulch from San Antonio
May 12, 2013 - Can Coleus plants grow in Mulch only?
view the full question and answer

Native plants to provide nitrogen for compost in Houston
March 27, 2010 - I leave my clippings on the lawn so I don't have enough 'green' for my compost. I'd like to plant an unobtrusive area with some native that I can mow on a monthly basis. The area is in partial...
view the full question and answer

Bird nest fungus in Central Austin, TX.
August 21, 2012 - Hi, I live in Central Austin and have different types of ground cover (such as silver pony foot)in my garden and have noticed huge patches of bird's nest fungi in between and under. Every time it ...
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