We need a bush planted between the corner of the garage and a brick walkway (about a 4-5 ft wide space). The problem is that a gutter on the garage feeds into a leader that is under this area. Is there a bush that could be planted whose roots would not eventually choke the leader? I was thinking of a sky pencil Japanese holly or a small azalea bush. Otherwise, what would you suggest? Thanks for your help.
I would first determine the amount of sunlight that this area receive; full sun, partial sun or shade.
You should also examine the soil and even preform a soil test to ensure your new planting will have a great start.
Fall is a great time for a soil test and to plant a new shrub.
Your County Extension Office can help you with a soil test for a few dollars.
Amending the soil if necessary is easier before you plant, then to try to correct conditions after you have all ready placed a plant in the ground.
I would suggest visiting your local garden center or greenhouse. Check for varieties that are specific to your zone 6 and your growing conditions.
There are many types of shrubs that should fit into this space of your home.
Here are links that will give you the growing conditions and care for the two plants you mention.
I am also listing a link to help you locate your nearest Extension Office.
I have several Japanese sky pencils. They all seem to be drying out. I’m watering regularly. Not sure what to do.
It is likely that these are suffering from a fungal or bacterial infection. Wettable sulfur put around the soil will take care of this. The dead growth will not recover, but the new growth will come out healthy. Here is an article for proper care of this shrub: https://www.gardeningknowhow.com/ornamental/shrubs/holly/care-of-sky-pencil-holly.htm
Do they have to be wrapped or otherwise protected in winter? ( Northeastern PA)
You are right inside their climate zone. They will not need any winter care. Here is an article on normal care of these: https://www.gardeningknowhow.com/ornamental/shrubs/holly/care-of-sky-pencil-holly.htm
What is the minimum temperature that Sky Pencil Holly will tolerate?
It appears that these can withstand down to -20 if they are established. As long as it is not a seedling, then it can withstand these temperatures.
Here is an article for more information on the care of these: https://www.gardeningknowhow.com/ornamental/shrubs/holly/care-of-sky-pencil-holly.htm
What are some adaptations of the sky pencil holly?
Let's start with looking at the plant as a whole. It's shape is an indication that it has developed a taller stature to harvest light above its competition. The thickness of the leaves suggest that it is semi drought tolerant, and will not lose as much moisture through them.
This thick leaf is also less appealing to creatures that may want to eat them.
Another advantage to a thick leaf will be tolerance to a broader range of climate conditions, such as cold or heat.
This article will give you more information on the shrub.
I left my pencil sky holly on the porch close to the house in the winter. I was told they could tolerate cold weather. Watered as usual and tried to keep the soil moist. Sring is here and all the leaves are dull and totally dried out and falling off the branches. Will they come back or are they dead? The branch doesn't look dead. Is there something I can do or should I toss them?
What climate zone are you in. They can survive some cold, but this depends on how cold it gets in your area. It is possible that they have gotten some windburn. The soil should be let to dry out sometimes during the winter months. This will prevent any fungal infection, which this sounds like may have happened here. Can you provide a photo? This can help me to better help you.
ng down How soon after fertilizing can I put down grass seed?
You can prune some of the drooping branches, but it is best to do this during winter, when it is not actively growing. It will not hurt it to take off a few branches here and there, now, though.
I have addressed the grass seed question on the original.
This article will help: https://www.gardeningknowhow.com/ornamental/shrubs/holly/care-of-sky-pencil-holly.htm