WSU Extension


Boron deficiency 
Green algae 
Phytophthora leaf & twig blight 
Red leaf spotting 
Brown soft scale 
Cottony camellia scale 
Holly bud moth 
Holly leafminer 
Lecanium scale 
Orange tortrix 

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Caption: Holly red leaf spotting
Photo by: J.W. Pscheidt
Holly : Red leaf spotting
(revision date: 4/23/2014)

Red leaf spotting of holly is a general category which includes physical or pesticide damage, nutritional deficiency, and disease symptoms. Damage from the holly's own spines can cause leaves to develop red or corky marks where the leaf was scratched or punctured. Also, boron deficiency causes spotting of leaves. English holly (Ilex aquifolium) may develop a disease called scab, which causes swollen, red to black, corky spots on the leaves. The spots usually are on the underside of the leaf, but may appear on the upper surface. The toxicity of copper in fungicidal sprays may cause holly leaves to develop purple spots or blotches on the lower (and sometimes upper) leaf surfaces. Finally, insect damage to the leaves may result in red spots.
Management Options

Non-Chemical Management
  • Determine the actual cause of leaf spotting before taking corrective or preventative measures. Your WSU Master Gardeners can help you make an accurate diagnosis.
Select non-chemical management options as your first choice!

Chemical Management

None recommended


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Caption: Holly red leaf spotting
Photo by: J.W. Pscheidt