The Garden Community for Garden Lovers

Why are my Holly tree's leaves all turning yellow?


By Nikic

United Kingdom Gb

I have a holly tree (it has produced berries in the past). It is planted in the ground in well drained soil. It is in shade in the morning and sunshine later in the afternoon. Up until this year is has had wonderful dark green spiky leaves. Now, all the leaves are lime green and the ones on the end of the branches are very yellow. If there were some dark green ones I would be calmer. I know that evergreen does not mean everlasting and I should expect some leave drop with colour change. But this is the whole tree not a few leaves. There is a very small amount of leaf miner tracts but I would say 3 to 5 leaves in the whole tree are affected. Please can you advise me if there is anything I can do or is my Holly very sick? Please help.

I live in Abingdon, Oxfordshire.

On plant Ilex aquifolium



I'll have to look thro' some books, but it could be that it's deficient in some mineral. It's not likely to be pests or diseases.

Leave it with me, and I'll get back to you, try not to panic!

6 May, 2009


That was quick, wasn't it? I have a book called Essential Garden answers by Stefan Buckacki.

To quote: What has caused the disfiguring yellow patches on the leaves of my holly? Stefan says you will rarely find a holly without signs of leaf miner attack but it seems to cause no harm to the tree. He suggests removing the leaves if they are seriously disfiguring, then destroy them. He goes on to say Ilex aquifolium "JC Van Tol" is a particulary good and reliable holly, with almost spineless leaves and plenty of red berries.

I don't know how big your tree is or what percentage of leaves are affected but it really is up to you to decide what to do, :-(

Hth? xoxoxo

6 May, 2009


Hey big thanks Craftnutter.

That book sounds great. I might wing by the library tomorrow and check it out.

The whole tree is affected. I would say 90% of the leaves have turned lime green. The remaining 10% of the leaves are yellow. The leaves are all yellow rather than with disfiguring yellow miner bug patches. I feel the tree is deficient in something, but sadly I don't know what it is.

It is really awful watching some thing wonderful die (slowly).

You've been a star.

7 May, 2009


No worries Niki, I like to help! I love reading books and learning things! Hope you manage to sort something out?

You're right about seeing beautiful plants die and being helpless to do anything about it, :-(

7 May, 2009


It is my understanding, there are three reasons for yellowing of Hollies

1. Poor drainage - too much or too little water, drainage to remove standing water or mulch base of plant to retain water (2" per week)

2. Leaf Miners - see › Plants

3. Iron deficiency - see › ... › Shrubs › Holly Bushes

Good luck!

4 Apr, 2013


Hi Ncgal

thanks for taking the time to reply about my holly tree. It was very kind of you. Sadly, this was 4 years ago and my tree didn't recover.

Kind wishes

8 Apr, 2013

How do I say thanks?

Answer question

Related photos

  • Ilex aquifolium (Holly) (Ilex aquifolium (Holly))
  • Holly leaves. (Ilex aquifolium)
  • Variegated Holly (Ilex aquifolium Aureo Marginata)
  • Holly leaf sketeton (Ilex aquifolium (Holly))

Related products


Not found an answer?