Rent Shop Volunteer Join

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

Please forgive us, but Mr. Smarty Plants has been overwhelmed by a flood of mail and must take a break for awhile to catch up. We hope to be accepting new questions again soon. Thank you!

Need help with plant identification, visit the plant identification page.

 
rate this answer
1 rating

Wednesday - June 17, 2009

From: Friendswood, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Diseases and Disorders, Shrubs
Title: Problems with Savannah Holly plants in Friendswood, TX.
Answered by: Jimmy Mills and Joe Marcus

QUESTION:

I have planted 4 savannah hollies in front of my house, two on the left of the door and two on the right. If you are standing in front of my house and looking at the door, the sun rises at the back left (about 10:00 position) and sets in the front right (about the 4:00 position)so first I noticed that the tree closest to the right is taller and fuller than all of the others, then the one to it's left if a little less tall and full, then the one to it's left is even less so, until the last one and it's in poor shape indeed. I am guessing this is due to the amount of time in the sun. So I wanted to know what I can do to make it up to the holly tree? Is there something I can do to the last one to make it grow? Also, can I do something to make it fill in and make more branches in the middle?

ANSWER:

 Savannah Holly, Ilex attenuata, a cultivar of Ilex opaca x Ilex cassine, has a light requirement of partial shade to full sun which translates into more than 2 hours of sun a day. While the duration of sun exposure as a cause is a tempting hypothesis, Mr. Smarty Plants is thinking that the appearance each of the plants would be different if that were the case. The far more likely cause is something going on in the rootzone. The most likely scenario is differences across the gradient from right to left in the amount of good soil or in the quality of drainage. Another possibility is a root-borne disease affecting the shrubs in a gradient from one side of the yard to the other.

Unfortunately, we are unable to diagnose this problem via e-mail, so I suggest that you contact the Galveston County AgriLife Extension Office  for some help closer to home.

 

More Diseases and Disorders Questions

Why are my Junipers turning brown in San Antonio?
May 11, 2009 - My Texas mountain cedars (junipers, I know) are turning brown, limb by limb. What is the problem and how do I save what looks like a dying tree.
view the full question and answer

Transplant shock in Vacccinum corymbosum (highbush blueberry)
June 28, 2007 - Blueberry plants - We planted Northland and Blue Crop, 2 of each. All 4 plants have some leaves that are turning brown. This starts at the tip of the leaf, eventually encompasses the entire leaf, a...
view the full question and answer

Texas wild olive tree
April 05, 2012 - I live in the Phoenix area. My Texas wild olive (Cordia boissieri) is about 5 years old, about 12 feet tall and has beautiful blossoms all year long. However, this past year (through all seasons...
view the full question and answer

Treating cuts in tree trunks
November 21, 2009 - We have two young trees that deer made bad cuts in the trunks. What can we put on cuts to keep bugs and disease from getting in them.? Thank you.
view the full question and answer

Brown spots on native oak trees
June 16, 2015 - Hi, My native live oak trees are declining. The leaves have small brown spots that increase in size until the leaf dies and falls off, then the branch and then the entire limb. I have not watered the...
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.