Holly Bushes

Leaves on Holly Trees Turning Yellow and Falling Off

Paullatham added on April 30, 2015 | Answered

Why are the leaves on some of my holly trees turning yellow and falling off? I have planted a lot of holly trees over the years, along with a number of other species (birch, oak, ash, gean, hazel) in a field of about 2 acres. My land is well drained and south facing. About two years ago, I cut down the trees surrounding one holly trees, which then started to look rather sick, with yellow leaves, some of which fell off. I wondered whether it had become too exposed but I have just seen a second tree whose leaves are also turning yellow and falling off, though this one is still surrounded by other trees. Would be glad to know what I should do.

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Certified GKH Gardening Expert
Answered on April 30, 2015

Is this happening only to the outside leaves? I don't have a full shot of the tree to gauge that.

Every spring hollies go through a normal leaf drop by shedding a percentage of their older leaves (which yellow and drop) as new growth begins. Other reasons for yellowing/dropping include iron chlorosis (caused by poor drainage or soil pH issue) and drought.

If your leaves are only turning yellow on the outside it is probably a root system issue - too wet or too dry or the result of "winter burn". Winter burn is explained at the following link:

For additional information on all of the above, please visit the following link:

For more information on the care of hollies, please visit the following link:

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