I have just planted Nellie R Stevens Holly Trees. I love them but I can't find what I am looking for searching the web. I know that spring time is a time they shed their leaves. I am not sure about how and when to prune them. Also mine are looking very thin and I don't know what to do.
I did call the landscaper that put them in to look at them. I told him I wanted low maintenance trees and something to fill in to block some views. They are suppose to endure very dry times, etc. But what concerns me is how many leaves they are shedding. Please help. Thank you so very much.
Hardiness Zone: 8a
By Cosy from Columbia, SC
I'm not an expert like Ellen Brown, so you might inquire of her expertise? Also, contact the nursery you bought them from. If recent, they may have gone into plant shock. Or whomever planted them may have mixed a "starter mix" too strong and burned them? You'll definitely need to know more about them, especially if they were on any sort of special "sale". The nursery should offer a refund if not older than a year and you still have proof of purchase by receipt, check, or charge slip?
If no luck for whatever reason, and you're stuck with them, consider:
Our city has them planted on boulevards with little watering other than from rain. I suspect that either they need more sun, are getting too much water, have scale, or that there's something in the soil that needs correcting fastl the reason the city plants them is low maintenance?. If the leaf drop is shocking and the leaves are yellow, it's likely going to take something like activated charcoal granules
dug into the soil, perhaps beginning at about 6 " from the main trunk out to the drip line, gently scratched into the soil, about a 2" deep application to mix with the soil. I'd also try sprinkling baking soda all over the soil as if like powdered sugar on a pancake, to try to "sweeten" any soured over-moist soil you might have. They are slow growers, don't get huge, but are nice small trees. Inspect the underside of the fallen and the remaining green leaves for fuzzy white spots or black sooty residue. The white could be a pest, a type of scale I believe, and the black could be mold or a virus, the best I remember from reading about them.
If anyone has fertilized them, this could cause a most serious problem since they are slow growers
needing something more like Fish Emulsion or Rabbit Manure. If you put on your thinking cap with these ideas to consider, perhaps you can determine what it could be and try to save them with your conclusions and the ideas I've given you? They're one of my favorite small trees, and not cheap, but worth trying to save. Go easy on any watering unless the soil is very light and spongy. They need more firm soil, such as Sandy Loam with Landscaper's mix added, but not too loose! Also, see if Garrison Gardens in Plano, Texas, has a website. They have sold Nelly Stevens Hollies for years and are quite knowledgeable. God bless and help you. : )
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