Holly: Boron deficiency

categories: Holly Holly Diseases Ornamentals Shrubs

revision date: 2022-12-02 12:00

Necrotic spotting on leaves from boron deficiency.
Necrotic spotting on leaves from boron deficiency
Photo by: R.S. Byther


Boron deficiency in holly is characterized by the appearance of spots on the leaves. The spots initially are red to purple and irregularly shaped on the upper surface. They appear water-soaked on the lower leaf surface. Later, the spots enlarge and may assume a target-like pattern bordered by yellow. Premature leaf drop may also occur. Leaves of boron-deficient plants are often deformed and stunted. Other problems may cause similar leaf spot symptoms on holly.

Management Options

Use Integrated Pest Management (IPM) for successful plant problem management.

Non-chemical Management

Select non-chemical management options as your first choice!

  • It may be necessary to have the soil tested for boron. Amend the soil as recommended to correct the deficiency. Use caution, as excess boron is toxic to plants.
  • Applying 0.1 lb actual boron to soil in fall around each tree has been effective in 10-year-old plantings. Younger trees require correspondingly less.

Chemical Management

IMPORTANT: Visit Home and Garden Fact Sheets for more information on using pesticides.

  • None recommended