Holly tree leaf problem

  johndrew 28 Jul 12
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Answered

One for the gardeners I think.

I have a youngish Holly tree on which the edges of the leave turn brown and curl; some also fall off. In the Spring old/damaged leaves drop and new leaves grow; these are perfectly shaped an show no sign of any problem but, as the year progresses, some of the leaves develop brown/black edges as if they are dying. The marks appear only on some leaves and initially as isolated patches around the edge but these patches join to form a line around the leaf edge.

Searches have revealed it is not like tar spot or any of the similar problems as it is not all leaves, only the margin of the leaf is affected, leaves remain on the tree and it starts late Spring/early Summer.

Whether this is a disease/fungus or soil deficiency I have no idea but hope someone here can point me in the right direction.

With thanks in anticipation.

  morddwyd 28 Jul 12

Sounds like a physiological condition rather than an environmental one.

Perhaps a soil borne fungal infection, whose spores are in the falling leaves?

  lotvic 28 Jul 12

It might be stress ClickHere either water problem or too much fertilizer. Also I believe Holly likes soil slightly acidic if I remember right.

  QuizMan 28 Jul 12

It sounds to me like leaf scorch. It usually starts in spring and is caused by fluctuating weather conditions. If it is. it is unsightly rather than fatal. Short of moving it to a sheltered location there is probably not much you can do. An example that I can think of is when it is sunny and getting warmer, but the ground is still frozen. The holly is unable to draw water from the soil to make up for water loss through the leaves.

  Forum Editor 28 Jul 12

Almost certainly your holly hasn't been getting enough water. Brown edges to the leaves are not indicative of disease, but of drought.

Make sure the holly has plenty of water in dry conditions, particularly as it is a young tree, and it should recover well.

  johndrew 29 Jul 12
Answer

Many thanks for all your responses.

The Holly is about seven years old and located next to a west facing fence panel where it will get the sun. This year there has been no real shortage of water as even through the drought the soil at depth was still damp and it is in the area where the teapot (acid soil) is emptied several times a day.

It is near a rose bush and I considered black spot from this but the rose has no symptoms.

I recently planted an ornamental Willow (Salix) nearby and this also appears fine, although the mottling on the leaves (pink/green/white) make it difficult to see if there is any discolouration. Having said this the Holly leaf discolouration pre-dates introduction of the willow.

Perhaps 'leaf scorch' is the cause. Certainly the weather over the past few years has been very variable.

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