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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.

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Ask Mr. Smarty Plants is a free service provided by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

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Monday - June 27, 2011

From: Iredell, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Pests, Shrubs, Trees
Title: What's attacking my Nellie Stevens Holly plants in Iredell, TX?
Answered by: Jimmy Mills

QUESTION:

I just bought 10 Nellie R. Stevens holly bushes and planted them as a screen. The leaves on some of the plants are at least half white - not yellow but white. Apparently they were like that when I bought them and I cannot figure out what could make leaves turn white. Can you please help me? Thank you.

ANSWER:

One possibility is that the leaves have been attacked by leaf miners. These are the larval stage of flies or moths that are inside the leaf eating the mesophyll of the leaf. The mesophyll cells contain most of the chloroplasts in the leaf, and when they are gone, the leaf looses its green coloration, ie it becomes white. This link to the University of Florida IFAS Extension has a description of the pests and suggestions for treatment.

This link to About.com has useful information about Nellie R. Stevens Holly.

 

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