Wednesday, August 2, 2017

FAQ: How can I tell if my holly is dead?

Q. I transplanted a large Fleming holly in the spring. Soon afterward the leaves turned brown and fell off. I've been watering and fertilizing it, but I believe it's dead. I hate to dig it up unless I'm positively sure. How can I tell if it's truly dead?

A. With a pocket knife or your fingernail, scratch several places on the stems, starting at the top and working downward. If you see green beneath, it's still alive at that point. If it's brown, cut it off.

Even if the cambium is green, the plant might eventually die. But if you care enough to keep it, continue watering when needed. Don't add fertilizer. Keep an eye out for tiny vegetative buds forming and leaves emerging. It's still possible your holly will survive.

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