Holly bush problems
In the Fall of 2003 we had 8 holly bushes planted professionally in Central Virginia. In late Fall of 2003 they had many red berries. Now, this spring 2004 all but one bush are very stemmy, have sparce, light green leaves and many green berry clusters. They look awful. I do not see any parasites on them. What can I do to help them. (There is only one bush that looks normal).
There could be a couple reasons... first, did you water them well the first year to give them an ample opportunity to establish? How is the soil that you planted them in? When planting, did you spread out the roots? Have you ever fertilized?
Let us know more about the problem...
Misspare the new growth on most hollies is a lighter green however if the entire plant has turned this color it is potentially a problem due too lack of iron (called chlorosis) this is usually the result of too high a pH in the soil (alkaline soil or leaching of lime from concrete foundations) if this is the case you can correct it with an application of cheleated iron now or wait till next spring and apply an acidifying slow release fertilizer (such as hollytone). If the lighter green is confined to the new growth only congratulation your holly is happy where it is and just needs some maintenance pruning from you to restore the shape, do this with bypass pruners and prune into the general shape you want (don't hack it all back with shears or a power trimmer as this over time kills out all the leaves inside the plant and will weaken it.
As for the berries, they are green until they ripen in fall/winter.