Need Help With Fertilizing Holly.please

Discussion in 'Pesticide & Herbicide Application' started by Pearl Valley Landscapes, Dec 27, 2007.

  1. Pearl Valley Landscapes

    Pearl Valley Landscapes LawnSite Member
    Messages: 12

    Hello, I am new to the landscpe industry and any help would be appreciated. I need to fertilize 2 foster holly trees about 15-18 feet tall.The condition of these trees is miserable.They are really thin and have little leaves.
  2. ted putnam

    ted putnam LawnSite Platinum Member
    Messages: 4,711

    Fertilizing isn't always the answer. There could be other problems. How wet does the soil stay? Do you see white things anchored to the leaves or stems? could be scale. Are there roots exposed to and cold. Are there roots wrapping around the main trunk?...root girdling. Fertilizing will probably help but it may not be the answer to your problem. Drive a stake down 6-8 inches deep evry 2-3 feet at the drip line and fill the holes with fertilizer of your choice. Lesco Triple14 100% slow release is a good one. Good luck
  3. Marcos

    Marcos LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,720

    From what you describe it sounds pretty dire already...
    Yeah, I'd check for scale 1st!

    Do you have any idea of what the existing soil pH is in the area around the tree ????

    All hollys really like it on the ACID side.

    When I plant 'landscape size' hollys in (high pH) Ohio soil, I have to add generous amounts of sulfur & cottonseed meal to bring down the pH to a level they'll tolerate better. well as incorporate a lot of peat moss & other organics into the (clayish) soil for better moisture drainage.
  4. Hissing Cobra

    Hissing Cobra LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 705

    There could be many different problems with these trees. Fertilizing and watering is a start, but as other's have stated, a soil test should be done, and insects need to be eradicated (if they're present.) Scale and Leaf Minors should be checked and can be cleaned up rather easily. For the leaf minors, inject the tree with MERIT each fall and for the scale, repeat applications of an insecticide such as Talstar can be done.
  5. tamadrummer

    tamadrummer LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,102

    If they are your trees, do anything you would think is right to do. What these fellas have recommended are all great ideas.

    If these hollys happen to be a customers and you do not have either a landscape pesticide applicators license or lawn and ornamentals, you need to sub this work out to the right trade. In the long run it will save you a boatload of money in troubleshooting.

    I have a company that I know from church that I call on for spraying and whatnot that I know will do the job needed and knows what is happening in my environment. They have been in business for a little over 25 years and have been killing bugs in the landscape for a long long time....

    Good Luck and let us know how you do,
  6. Pearl Valley Landscapes

    Pearl Valley Landscapes LawnSite Member
    Messages: 12

    This is a picture of the holly tree...I have completed the requirements for applying pesticides to turf grass and will take the MDA exam in April.I think the problem is more related with soil conditions and Root Rot diseases rather then pests.thanks

  7. RigglePLC

    RigglePLC LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 13,680

    I am from up north. Both trees are affected. The tree on the right looks in bad shape--a lot of dieback. Color is OK--not extremely yellow. Has some slope, so drainage is probably OK. Soil should be acid for holly. Why is there no grass in foreground? Was something like a soil sterilant used to kill weeds in the bark? Excess surflan?

    Examine the trunk for signs or borers or their exit holes. Examine the twigs carefully. Check for scale insects. Measure the number of inches of new growth for each of the last three years. 6 to 12 inches of new growth per year for branches in full sun would be considered adequate around here. Check the soil for signs of black plastic, water logging, grubs and black vine weevil or roots that are black or stunted, rather than white and spreading. Good luck.
  8. topsites

    topsites LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 21,653

    To bring you up to date a large portion of the USA went through a pretty severe drought this past year, we're just now starting to get caught up on some much needed rain but we're far from being out of the woods. So it's just as likely these trees suffered from that, you might want to ask around to see if your area was affected, if it was I would give it time to see if things improve on their own, at least 3-4 maybe 6 months.

    Now if your area wasn't affected then I don't know much about hollies per se, I do know the holly is one tough bush, you can't kill them for trying and in many ways it might be cheaper to replace one if it comes to that, also I know all plants suffer from droughts so I thought I'd mention it.

    That would be the easy way, just wait and see what happens.
    If they die, get some young'uns to replace them, be done with it.
  9. Whitey4

    Whitey4 LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,448

    I think these specimens likely have more than one problem. The advice you've gotten is sound in my opinion, and they need to be properly pruned, but even I would call in an arborist on this one. Holly is one tough tree. If a tree can come back from being this distressed, it's a holly.
  10. humble1

    humble1 LawnSite Silver Member
    from MA
    Messages: 2,519

    was this your account last year or is this the first year, another thing not addressed here is winter kill in years past. I would refer out the chem end, so your customer doesnt blame you for the decline.

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