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

Spots on bark of Mountain Ash from Engadine MI
April 30, 2012 - I have a mountain ash that is about 5 years old & have just noticed white, patchy, scaly looking spots on the bark. Is this something to be concerned about???
view the full question and answer

Problems with Green Cloud cenizo in Tucson, AZ
June 15, 2009 - I have a large number of Green Cloud Texas Rangers on my property. I water all very consistently, once a week and most of these are around 5-6 ft tall and 15 years or more old. We've only had a few i...
view the full question and answer

Need help diagnosing a problem with Bur Oak in Plano, TX
April 28, 2010 - I planted a bur oak 8 or 9 years ago. It has grown beautifully until this year. When opening, the leaves are very small (a couple inches) and there are lots of seeds (catkins?). I would hate to los...
view the full question and answer

Fasciation on brown eyed Susan
August 28, 2005 - I have a flower in my garden that blooms every year. This year I have a very strange breed--there is a double flower. I do not know the name of the flower or what kind it is. I only know we nickname...
view the full question and answer

Death of mature Eve's necklace in Fredericksburg, TX
July 12, 2010 - A friend mentioned his mature Eve's necklace had died this year. The next day I walked past my own mature Eve's necklace(about 5 years old)and it was dead! What could have happened? Thanks.
view the full question and answer

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