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

Leaf drop from maple tree in Minnesota
August 15, 2008 - I have about a 30 ft maple tree in my yard, last fall I trimmed it pretty good because the branches were getting low where you could not walk under it or get grass to grow. This is the 2nd time in abo...
view the full question and answer

Live oak trees with rusty spots and holes on tree trunks
September 21, 2011 - I have live oak trees that have developed rusty spots, small holes on the tree trunks and sawdust on the trees base. They were planted in Oct 2010. We have had a hot dry summer in Texas this year an...
view the full question and answer

Failure to bloom of non-native Althea in Oklahoma
August 17, 2008 - I have 2 Althea bushes that will not bloom. For the past 2 years, they become covered in buds, which eventually yellow, but never open. The buds are fully developed. This year the branches have starte...
view the full question and answer

Yellowing leaves of Texas Sage (Cenizo) from Las Vegas NV
November 21, 2013 - Leaves of Texas Sage are turning yellow. Can you tell me why?
view the full question and answer

Cultivar of Cercis Canadensis from Haskell OK
May 16, 2012 - We have a Hearts of Gold Redbud that first had dark edges to many of its leaves (about 2 weeks after planting). It now has multiple leaves w/ medium-dark brown spots on them. Are we looking at some ...
view the full question and answer

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