En EspaŅol
Share

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants

Mr. Smarty Plants - What eats American holly bushes in winter?

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
2 ratings

Sunday - January 24, 2010

From: Marlborough, MA
Region: Select Region
Topic: Trees
Title: What eats American holly bushes in winter?
Answered by: Janice Kvale

QUESTION:

I live in Marlborough, MA and I was shoveling snow on January 19th and noticed how beautiful my Holly bush was covered in red berries against the new fallen snow. My husband said to me this morning (January 23rd) "Did you notice your Holly bush out front? Something has eaten all the berries and the leaves." I could not believe it. It did not look like the same bush I was admiring less than a week ago. All berries and the leaves are gone and animal waste is all around it. What eats Holly in the winter?

ANSWER:

You can take some comfort in the fact that your beautiful holly has provided sustenance for some critter unable to find other food in snow bound Massachusetts. The scat you observed may provide a clue as to which critter, but there are a number of suspects. Deer, squirrels, and other small mammals will devour Ilex opaca (American holly) and the berries are an important source of food for as many as 18 species of birds. While there are a number of insect pests that may chew on hollies, that is unlikely at this time of year. The damage is most likely aesthetic, and your holly will recover in time for a good show next year. Look for more extensive information about American holly at this site


Ilex opaca

Ilex opaca

Ilex opaca

Ilex opaca

 

More Trees Questions

Are blue spruce (Picea pungens) poisonous?
May 30, 2009 - Are blue spruce trees poisonous at all? Thank you.
view the full question and answer

Austrian pine in landscape in Denver CO?
May 30, 2009 - I'm relandscaping my yard and want to use all or mostly native plants, as I want to create a wildlife. My landscape designer has indicated she wants me to use Austrian Pine in as a specimen tree in t...
view the full question and answer

Plants for area around salt water pool
June 27, 2013 - What are some plants that will grow around my salt water pool where there is some salt water runoff occasionally.
view the full question and answer

Name of the cedar tree at Lake Travis
May 27, 2009 - What is the name of the cedar tree that is at Lake Travis?
view the full question and answer

What to do about volunteer trees growing beneath a large live oak tree in Austin, TX
January 08, 2013 - We have a large live oak tree. Several volunteer trees are growing directly underneath it and into its branches. I want to cut them down if they are going to hurt the long term health of the live oak....
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