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 Shrubs Questions

Restoring the woods in Central Austin.
May 08, 2012 - I live in Austin, south central between Red Bud trail close to the low water bridge and Bee Caves road. My question: I want to make the wooded sections of my yard attractive. They have filtered sun...
view the full question and answer

need recommendation for small evergreen shrub in Katy, TX
September 14, 2015 - recommendation regarding small to mediun evergreen palnt in full sun in 2feet by8 feet area.
view the full question and answer

Preservation of a Lantana Tree in New York
October 05, 2008 - I have a Lantana Tree that grew beautiful over the summer, now Winter is coming and I don't know what to do with this tree, I live in Monroe, New York. Could you please help me out. Thank you.
view the full question and answer

Savannah Holly True to Seed?
July 03, 2016 - I read your information on Savannah holly. Does this mean that none of the berries will produce a Savannah holly (Ilex x attenuata) but will either be Ilex cassine or Ilex opaca seeds? Thanks so much...
view the full question and answer

Problems with non-native, invasive Japanese Privet from Peoria AZ
July 31, 2013 - I have Japanese Privit bushes. one out of 6 has started to grow very small leaves and does not look healthy. Moon Valley told me shortage of zinc, but that has not helped in 3 months. What can I ...
view the full question and answer

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