Compacta Holly Disease- Covington GA

« Back to Name that Plant

Date Photo Taken: September 15, 2011
Location: Covington GA
Posted By: larryemc


Walter and Staff, I hope you will ID the disease or condition affecting my compacta hollies shown in the three photos. I have now lost about 4 of these shrubs despite treating for both disease and insects (the white tint on the leaves is residue from my last disease/fungicide treatment. At first, the leaves turn yellow and a dead branch appears on the shrub. The yellowing continues and more dead portions of the plant appear. The infected plant dies slowly over the coarse of several months. Thanks in advance for your help.


  1. mmfellows Unregistered says:

    Could it possibly be just the effects of our prolonged drought?

    September 15th, 2011 at 5:36 pm
  2. Bobby Unregistered says:

    This looks like a root rot disease. I see damage like this on compacta holly every year. Some times it may be a problem brought home from the nursery. Other times I’ve seen it occur in old established plants. Check this link and the included links on the site:
    This link has similar information but much better pictures of the problem:

    September 15th, 2011 at 8:22 pm
  3. Diane Unregistered says:

    So what do you do to stop the problem? We have established hollies along the side of the house (probably 30 years old), and two of them have been decimated. I thought they were just suffering the effects of being overgrown, but these pictures could have been taken in my yard. Should I pull the plants while parts of them are still living? Do I need to treat the soil to prevent the spread of the rot?

    Thank you!

    October 18th, 2011 at 1:06 am
  4. Bobby Unregistered says:

    Diane, the primary cause of root rot in woody ornamentals is the extremes of available moisture to the plant. Too wet and too dry. Proper mulch and proper watering are key to a plant’s health. That said, for all practical purposes, a thirty year old foundation bed of helleri or compacta hollies, at their current size, may have reached the limits of their usefulness in the landscape. A last ditch effort at saving them would be to severely prune them in late March next year: cut back to a four inch stump. Drench fungicides may be helpful at that time as you begin to regrow the plant. See the following links for additional information on root rot issues and care for woody ornamental shurbs.

    October 19th, 2011 at 3:30 pm
  5. Diane Unregistered says:

    Bobby –

    Thank you for your response. The hollies are huge, and I had planned to cut them back severely in early spring, though not quite as low as you suggested. I just wasn’t sure whether it was worth trying to save these two dying bushes, or any of the bushes if the rot is going to spread. I will hack them back to a four-inch stump and see what happens.

    October 20th, 2011 at 3:15 pm
  6. ALTON SIMS Unregistered says:


    September 18th, 2013 at 5:34 pm
  7. jim spears Unregistered says:

    I have youpan hollys that are dropping their leaves.

    they are established plants 10 years old

    whats going on

    they are all on irrigation on a timely basis

    October 17th, 2013 at 6:00 am
  8. Blanche Weathers Unregistered says:

    I am reading these comments from 2011 about Compacta Hollies and brown leaves. I do not think it is root rot. Every year I combat this with fungicide/insecticide. If I am diligent, I can arrest it… But this year it is everywhere instead of a few random spots. I think the rain last summer has effected the problem but I still don’t know if it is fungus or insect. Any updates would be appreciated to my email address.

    March 15th, 2014 at 11:50 am
  9. FLISS Registered says:

    I have a new plant but do not know the name, it looks like some kind of holly, it has black berries that look like small grapes. Some of the leaves are yellow and some a beautful red. The real problem is, it is covered in black spots. I can’t see any bugs at all.This plant has only been in since March 2015. We are not established gardeners ourselves and called in a company to tidy the garden and put some shrubs in for us.I have asked them to call in and take a look but I know they are extremely busy and I am now trying to be a bit pro active and find out myself. I would be very grateful for any advice.

    May 25th, 2015 at 11:36 am
  10. Susan Unregistered says:

    Can the compactas with black root rot be pruned back now, in September and still make it? I have 5 21-year old bushes together and only this one is affected.

    September 3rd, 2015 at 11:22 am
  11. Bobby Master Identifier says:

    Heavy pruning now would only promote tender growth that would be subject to winter damage. Plan severe pruning for late March. I would prune the entire hedge. Try to determine origins of to wet/ to dry conditions and make corrections to avoid future problems.

    September 4th, 2015 at 1:02 pm
  12. Anne Unregistered says:

    I understand there is a newer substitute for helleri hollies that is more hardy. If true, could you provide the plant name?

    March 16th, 2016 at 4:23 pm

Leave a Reply