Browning leaves on Oregon grape holly (69808 bytes)

Browning Leaves on Oregon Grape Hollies

By Mary Small, Colorado State University Cooperative Extension agent Urban Integrated Pest Management

Are the leaves of your Oregan Grape Holly brown around the edges?

It is most likely due to "winter injury." During the winter months, evergreens continue to transpire (lose moisture to the surrounding environment). Warm temperatures, sunlight and wind can increase the amount of transpiration. To stay healthy, plants must replace the moisture lost through this process. That can't happen if the soil is frozen. If plant roots are functioning poorly or are damaged, they will not be able to keep up with the loss, either. The result is the brown leaf edges you describe.

It's hard to say which factors is involved in the browning; it could be several. The best way to prevent it next year is to give the plants adequate water during the growing season, avoid soil compaction activities in the root zone area and apply water monthly in fall and winter when the soil is unfrozen and can absorb it. This year's growth should cover over the damaged areas and plants will look more attractive later in the season.

Photograph courtesy of Judy Sedbrook.

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Date last revised: 01/05/2010