Q: These Japanese hollies are ten years old. About a year ago they started turning brown. There is some new growth/sprouts coming from the bottom. Should I replace entire plant or cut down to the new growth?
A: The first thing to do is to check to make sure the gutters are not dumping rainwater where it can run onto the shrub roots. Soggy soil next to the house is a common factor in shrub decline.
Next, make sure the shrubs are getting plenty of sunshine. Japanese hollies grow best in full sun and don’t do very well in even partial shade.
If those two causes of shrub decline can be eliminated, you can prune the hollies down to 12 inches tall and let them regrow foliage nearer to the ground.
Fertilize in mid-March to help them make vigorous regrowth.