Sky Pencil Holly Problems: 5 Scary Issues You Need To Fix

Sky pencil holly problems can happen when you least expect it. This Japanese holly cultivar that has been developed here in the United States is prized as an ornamental plant. With its glossy, dark green foliage many homeowners love to grow them since they can make their yards look spectacular.

As an evergreen, this plant can make your lawn look lush and vibrant. Unfortunately, they are not resistant to a couple of diseases that typically affects the holly family. If its leaves will start to fall, there might be something very wrong with your plant. You need to act right away if you don’t want it to die.

The sky pencil holly has a lot of landscape uses. They are often considered a game changer when it comes to creating lawns that look sleek and stylish. People who have problems with this plant will be in a scary situation because if the plants wither, their house will end up having a dreadful-looking exterior.

Sky Pencil Holly Problems: 5 Scary Issues You Need To Fix

1. The Die Back Problem

black cancer

This is a very common problem among gardeners who try to grow sky pencil hollies in very wet or soggy soil. This can also happen if you over water the plant, and also if you use too much peat moss around it. What makes this problem scary is that it will make your hollies look like plants from hell.

It is caused by the Botryosphaeria bacteria and once it starts to infect your plant through a broken branch, it will create ugly cankers on its stems. The infection can spread rapidly and it can cause the leaves to turn yellow. To deal with it, you need to cut an inch below the infected branches.

2. Web Blight

Having thick, lush pencil hollies can be treated as a great accomplishment. Unfortunately, this can actually make your plants susceptible to web blight. Caused by fungi, it starts at the bottom leaves and it can slowly spread all over your plant. Over time, it will make your plant look like tall, dead weeds.

The web blight can cause brown canker spots and it can happen when the plants get a lot of rain and humidity. This can also happen if you do not trim the plant’s foliage and if you typically water it later during the day instead of early in the morning. To deal with this problem you need to keep the plant dry.

3. Black Rot

root rot

This is another scary issue that gardeners need to look out for simply because it can affect both new plants as well as established hollies. What makes this problem even scarier is that if you will not check the condition of your plant’s roots regularly, you’ll never know that something wrong is happening.

As a matter of fact, if you see that the rot has already begun to affect the foliage of your plants, there is a huge chance that it is now too late to save your beloved hollies. Call a professional to help you fix this problem. Keep in mind that if the holly dies, you won’t be able to plant anything on the same spot.

4. Red Mites

red mites

This is another very scary problem that your sky pencil hollies can go through. This happens when Southern red mites will start feeding on the underside of the leaves. Eventually, the leaves will have speckled yellow discolorations until they turn to bronze in color and drop off.

Although the appearance of the plant might not be that scary, you will totally freak out if your hollies have a heavy infestation. Keep in mind that the red mites look like spiders and they will also wrap the plant with webs. Seeing dozens of them under the foliage will definitely make your skin crawl.

To deal with this problem you will need to hose the mites away from the leaves. If you opt to use insecticides, you might end up killing other insects that can protect your sky pencil holly. Infestations can worsen especially during spring or fall.

5. Leaf Spot

leaf spot

Caused by the Cylindrocladium fungi, this problem can make your plant look very sick and ugly. When the fungus begins to attack the leaves, it will turn yellow. Over time, the yellow spots will turn to tan and have a black or purple border. If left untreated, this disease can cause both die back and leaf drop.

Without prompt action your hollies will definitely suffer a deadly blow. The only way to fix this issue is to spray your plants with fungicide and hope for the best. This is because you will need to treat the plant continuously for as long as 14 days until the new foliage emerges.


If you love you sky pencil holly, you need to give it enough care and attention. These plants can enhance the beauty of your property but without proper care and consideration, these beautiful plants will be riddled with ugly diseases, making them look nightmarish and very unsightly.

By using the right techniques, and the correct preventative measures, you can easily fix hollies that are under distress. Just keep in mind that some of these plant problems can be deadly to your hollies, and this is why prompt action should be given before it is too late.

About the Author Emily Taylor

My name is Emily Taylor, gardening is my passion and I’m looking forward to sharing it with everyone. I know that there are millions of people out there want their backyard and garden be attractive just like their front yard, so I am here to help you create your own backyard paradise.

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1 comment
JP Michaud says Aug. 2019

Some good info, but your picture of Southern red mites is actually a newly hatched cluster of assassin bugs, probably Zelus longipes, about to disperse. Here are some that are a bit older:

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