Holly Diseases

Informational table showing disease name, symptoms, pathogen/cause, and management of Holly diseases.
Holly Diseases - Articles

Updated: August 14, 2017

Holly Diseases
DiseaseSyptomsPathogen/CauseManagement
Leaf scorchCircular to irregular, tan spots appear in early spring or summer. Tiny, black fungal fruiting structures pepper the spot surface as a result of attack by a secondary fungus.Young leaves formed during cool, damp weather are damaged easily if exposed to hot, dry, windy weather.No control is recommended.
NematodesYellowing, stunting, and twig dieback occur. The root system is small and has dead areas, as well as galls in some cases.Criconemella, Meloidogyne, Pratylenchus, or TylenchorhynchusAn analysis of soil and roots must be done to confirm that nematodes are actually causing the symptoms. Care for plants well so that they are not under stress from other factors. If the shrub is replaced, first fumigate and thoroughly aerate the soil.
Phytophthora root rotLeaves yellow and brown spots develop. Branches and eventually the entire plant dies.Phytophthora cinnamomiRemove the infected plant. Do not replace it with a woody ornamental unless the planting site is first fumigated and aerated thoroughly. Protect surrounding plants with a fungicide.
Spine spotPinhead-sized or larger spots frequently surrounded by a purple halo appear on leaves in late winter and early spring.Once thought to be caused by the sharp points of leaves puncturing each other, spine spot is now known to be caused by the ovipositing of certain insects.No control is recommended.
Tar spotSmall, yellow spots form on leaves and turn reddish brown with a small, yellow halo later in the summer. In the autumn, a flat black, cushion-shaped fungal structure forms beneath the leaf surface.Rhytisma priniNo control is recommended.
Thielaviopsis root rotPlants are stunted and have branch dieback. Roots are blackened.ThielaviopsisInspect the roots of containerized hollies before planting. Do not use those with blackened roots. Apply a fungicide as a soil drench to protect healthy roots.


Thielaviopsis spores


Holly dieback due to Phytophthora root rot in a root cell.