Holly – Notches in Leaves (Black Vine Weevil)
Q:Can you tell me what has been eating the leaves on my holly hedge? It doesn’t look like leafcutter bees.
A: I teach Master Gardeners that pest diagnosis is all about patterns. You’re right that the pattern doesn’t look like leafcutter bees: their leaf damage is semi-circular and regular. Black vine weevils notch the edges of leaves but their notches are typically smaller than what I see here.
I’m leaning toward black vine weevil damage combined with possible some early spring caterpillar chewing. That would explain the notches and the almost-complete removal of some leaves.
Though you can see the leaf damage immediately, the most damage done by black vine weevil is by its larvae, which chew on shrub roots.
The easiest control is with a soil-applied systemic drench (click for sources) applied in spring.