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Trying to figure out what kind of tree this is and why it is dying....

I had some landscaping done last year... and have not been completely pleased with the company.  Several trees have had issues and now another is.  This one appears to be dying...or maybe diseased.  I have 5 of these in the back yard but only this one looks like this...  The landscaper said he thinks it is because of "dog pee"... but trust me, we have two girl dogs that do not pee on trees.

First...I'd like to know what kind of tree this is.  My invoice says "Luster Leaf holly".  Not sure if that is the case.

Secondly, after identifying what kind of species it is, is this just some sort of disease that might go away?  The rest of the tree appears healthy.

Thank you THD Community!!!!

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Posted 2015-03-30T00:15:58+0000  by jpullen jpullen


Howdy JPullen,

It looks very much like your Ilex Latifolia (Luster Leaf Holly) has been suffering a problem for some time. By the symptoms of leaf drop, bark discoloration, and lack of new leaves it could be a few things that are harming your Ilex Latifolia.

It could be a disease/fungus like black root rot, blight, yellow leaf spot, or possibly mites.  Without a close up of leaves it may be difficult to figure out the problem…but not impossible.  Here are some procedures you might try to figure out what the problem is;


1)    Mites are so small, you have to make sure that they're the culprits for your plant problems. Hold a sheet of white paper under an unhealthy branch. Hit the branch and see what comes out. If tiny red, yellow, green, brown, red, or black specs fall on your paper and begin to crawl around, you have spider mites. Inspect the leaves for any other critter that might be “bugging” your plant. I usually use: Bayer 3 in 1, Spectracide Triazacide, or Ortho Bug-B-Gone.


2)    Fungus/Disease can attack the branches, leaves, and roots. Inspect roots to see if they are weak and limp instead of crisp and brittle. Also there will be a dark discoloration that can be scratched of with your fingernail. In this case you could use a fungicide such as: Daconil, Safer Garden Fungicide, or Spectracide Immunox and treat the root system with 2-3 application into the soil.


3)    Your plant could be suffering “winter damage” from extreme frost’s if it snows in your area. If this is the case then trimming off the dead material and fertilizing with an evergreen fertilizer will give your Ilex Latifolia the best chance for recovery.


Tip: When using any type of chemical on plants using 2-3 applications may be needed, but mix the pesticide as per instructions. Too high a concentration will not give you better results.


Happy Gardening,

Coach Dave

Posted 2015-03-30T19:45:48+0000  by Dave_HD_OC
Hi jpullen,

The holly (yes indeed, it is) is planted close enough to the fence as to prevent adequate air movement through the plant to support healthy growth.

The foliage above the fence is thriving because it receives the air that it requires. The lower limbs are stagnant and moist to the point of harboring damaging disease.

The tree can be trimmed into a tree form to increase air flow and minimize the lower extremities. Simply remove all of the lower branches that are affected. Burn or discard the infected foliage that falls under the holly. Treat the rest of the tree with fungicide to stop the progression of disease.

The tree could be relocated farther away from the fence, but it is probably too late for the lower foliage to re generate new growth because the new growth comes from the top, not from the bottom.

I know that this is not great news, but the disease needs attention.

Posted 2015-03-31T20:18:07+0000  by Travis_HD_ATL
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