Dead Sky Pencil Holly?

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Hi, I have what appears to be a dead Sky Pencil Holly. Went in last year and did great all spring/summer even flowered. Made it through the winter looking green but as of Spring things have taken a turn for the worse. I was considering if there was a way to determine if there was any life left in this thing I could container it and put something else in it’s spot but unclear how to go about doing this? Do I dig up the root ball and look for rot or something and then cut thid thing way back?

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Just get a knife and scrape some of the limbs. If any greenish color shows it is still alive. Can you take a close up picture of the leaves?
 
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Here is a pic of a limb i scraped which showed green and a closer photo of some leaves.
 

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In the second picture it shows green leaves that are starting to turn brown at the tips. This is a sign of too much water or too little water. If you had very cold temps during the winter and this is a young plant, this could also be the cause. But since the limbs are still green there is a good chance that the leaves will drop off and then regrow.
 
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So you wouldn’t give up on it just yet? Is there anything I can do to help support it more? Should I pick off all the brown leaves?
 
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So you wouldn’t give up on it just yet? Is there anything I can do to help support it more? Should I pick off all the brown leaves?
I wouldn't give up on it yet. I think digging it up and transplanting it now while it has little to no photosynthesis would finish it off. What I would do is get some SuperThrive and use as directed. This is amazing stuff. If or when you start to see leaf buds I would fertilize at half the rate recommended. How old is this plant and what was the low winter temperature?
 
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I don’t have any Superthrive at the moment but i do have miracle grow and miracid. Low winter temp probably got to the low teens a couple times.
 
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I don’t have any Superthrive at the moment but i do have miracle grow and miracid. Low winter temp probably got to the low teens a couple times.
Miracle Grow products are not what your plants need and are terrible products. There are many threads on this forum explaining why. Get some SuperThrive. It is probably the only thing that will save the plant. If the leaves don't drop on their own soon the plant will probably not survive. If the temps only got into the teens then temps are not what caused the problem and is probably a watering issue. Was there extended rain earlier in the year? Hollys' don't like wet feet at all.
 
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Ok, looks like they might carry ST at Lowed will try it out. So I shouldn’t try to remove the brown leaves myself?
 
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Ok, looks like they might carry ST at Lowed will try it out. So I shouldn’t try to remove the brown leaves myself?
If they come off easily yes, but if not, don't, not yet. If any of the limbs are dead remove them. Just scratch the limbs near the base of the plant to find out and if green work your way up the limb to find out how much of the limb is dead. Or, you can cut the entire plant down and the limbs will resprout, but I would wait until you use the ST. The entire plant might come back. Hollys are pretty tough plants.
 
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Ok, I gave it it’s first dose of Superthrive. Will give it a day or two to settle in then maybe look at removing some brown leaves and dead limbs and see where things stand end of next week.
 
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Ok, I gave it it’s first dose of Superthrive. Will give it a day or two to settle in then maybe look at removing some brown leaves and dead limbs and see where things stand end of next week.
Superthrive is at its base a phytohormone called an auxin. This promotes points of growth in the roots. The upper parts too, but the root is key. They need good sun, and a balanced organic fertilizer. Sun is very important, not part shade. They are slow growers, so slamming them with chemical ferts is not just a waste it kinda makes their soil too fertile as in toxic to their slow ways. Imagine being thrown into a pool of oatmeal while someone says its good for you.
 
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Looks like there is life! Now what should I do? There are still a lot of brown leaves attached, I kind of ruffles the bush a bit to get some of them to fall off but there are many attached still.

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Check and see if the twigs are brittle or greenish. If brittle they are dead and can be removed but if the twigs are still viable don't remove the leaves yet. Apply ST again 1 week after the first time.
 
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They are green! See the buds? Let them be, they are sensitive! @Chuck would you think a mound of hardwood bark too wet for sky pencil? I have 7 in behind a red cascade rosebush setting and I was hopeful they would find the soil as they needed. I have the roses up for drainage purposes.
 
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