HoneyBerry
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Posts: 1113
Joined: Sat Jul 18, 2015 5:10 pm
Location: Zone 8A Western Washington State

dead branches on Sky Pencil

One of my Sky Pencils has some dead branches and I don't know why. The other 2 look fine and they are next to the one that has the problems. Does anyone know why the dead branches? I have not done anything. No chemicals, nothing.
dead branches on the middle one
dead branches on the middle one
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IMG_0200.JPG (55.66 KiB) Viewed 1124 times
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IMG_0199.JPG (61.39 KiB) Viewed 1124 times

dobro13
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Posts: 59
Joined: Sat Nov 17, 2018 2:02 am
Location: Upstate SC. Zone7B or 8.

Re: dead branches on Sky Pencil

I’m wondering what the outcome was with this.

imafan26
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Posts: 11119
Joined: Tue Jan 01, 2013 1:32 pm
Location: hawaii, zone 12a 587 ft elev.

Re: dead branches on Sky Pencil

Is there a roof drain or a low spot where that holly is. The one to the left looks like it has some brown spots as well. Overwatering can be one issue if it is in a low spot or downside of a drain.

Junipers does a similar thing. There are usually insects or fungi involved. Cut out the dead branches and open the canopy up more. Check for fungal problems or insects like scale, and twig borers. I would prefer it to be planted farther away from the house so air would circulate better. Investigate if water may be pooling after rain, root rot or decay would also cause branches to die.

You might have to do a bit of detective work to trace what is causing the dieback.
Happy gardening in Hawaii. Gardens are where people grow.

HoneyBerry
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Posts: 1113
Joined: Sat Jul 18, 2015 5:10 pm
Location: Zone 8A Western Washington State

Re: dead branches on Sky Pencil

Thanks imafan26.

Unfortunately, all of my Sky Pencils died. I have no idea what killed them. I'm over it now. They were rather expensive and I liked them so it was hard to take. There is the effect of the concrete on the soil and there is a downspout nearby but the Sky Pencil closest to the downspout was the last one to die. One would think that if it was the downspout that the Sky Pencil closest to the downspout would die first. Even with the downspout, that location is rather dry. There is a thriving California Lilac very close, just around the corner. I was thinking the roots may have been the issue.

I have some Dark Stars, which are relatives of California Lilac, and the Dark Stars were thriving and closed in around my Lace Leaf Maple. The Lace Leaf Maple died. I think that the Dark Star roots killed my Lace Leaf Maple. I have another Lace Leaf Maple that is not surrounded by Dark Stars and it is thriving.

I will never know with certainty what caused the death of my Sky Pencils. I've learned to accept that sometimes plants die. My friends loved their Sky Pencils in big pots by their entry. Their Sky Pencils also died mysteriously. I think that Sky Pencils must be touchy. Holly is invasive and tough to get rid of around here. I think that Sky Pencil is a type of holly but it doesn't seem to be as tough as the wild volunteer holly, the standard holly with the red berries.
The bees loved my Sky Pencils when they were blooming. It was fun to watch them. I miss my Sky Pencils but I don't plan to have any more of them.

dobro13
Full Member
Posts: 59
Joined: Sat Nov 17, 2018 2:02 am
Location: Upstate SC. Zone7B or 8.

Re: dead branches on Sky Pencil

That wasn’t what I was hoping to hear. I’m sorry you lost em. Those were some good answers above for future reference. I’m interested in the Dark Star plants as a Grateful Dead fan.

HoneyBerry
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Posts: 1113
Joined: Sat Jul 18, 2015 5:10 pm
Location: Zone 8A Western Washington State

Re: dead branches on Sky Pencil

There is a chance that the concrete made the soil too alkaline for the Sky Pencils, which like acidic soil.

The Dark Star has a gorgeous flower that has a vibrant color. The flower is gorgeous looking up close but not as much so from a distance. The foliage is somewhat stickery and dark. I don't consider the shrub to be a good looking shrub when not in bloom. I bought it at a clearance sale for the stickery effect because I thought that it would make a nice people shield. For me, the gorgeous flowers were unexpected.

I have a California Lilac and it is better looking than the Dark Star. It has a periwinkle flower with beautiful green foliage. I recommend this over the Dark Star. "Dark Star" is certainly a fitting name for that dark stickery shrub.
ISFP "The Artist"

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