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Holly Bushes

Q.What Would Cause a Well Established Holly to Die Overnight?

Zone 5 | gardengoddess added on September 4, 2013 | Answered

I have a client and she has hollies placed near her garage wall facing east. Years old, one was scrawny and the other was lush and beautiful. I keep them trimmed to a ball. Within a week, she said it was overnight, the really nice one just died.

The branches and stems had a look on the dark of brown turning to green. The stems also looked withdrawn of water, ribbed if you will. No signs of scale or mites, no spotting of any kind. But the bark was almost ripped open on various parts of stems like it was trying to expand. Roots were fine.

I had another call similar on a yew. Almost overnight one of two planted next to one another just turned brown and died. She thinks it was hit by lightning, but no burn marks. What would cause this? I’m a Master Gardener and I am at a loss to find the cause even through OSU. Help Christine

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Certified GKH Gardening Expert
Answered on September 9, 2013

It sounds like it may be Pythium Root Rot. It can move very rapidly through a plant after a good rain or watering. Here is more information:

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