Holes in Holly Bush Leaves: Reasons and Solutions

by | Jul 27, 2022 | Care | 0 comments

The holly bush is a striking evergreen that is known for its glossy, dark green leaves and red berries. While holly bushes are generally low-maintenance plants, they can sometimes develop problems. One such problem is holes in the leaves.

In this blog post, we will discuss the reasons why holly bush leaves get holes in them, as well as solutions that you can use to fix the problem.

Why Are There Holes in Holly Bush Leaves?

The holly leafminer is a small caterpillar that bores into holly leaves and feeds on the tissue inside. This feeding causes the formation of small, meandering tunnels within the leaves. The leafminer is most active in late spring and early summer, but damage can be seen year-round if infestations are severe.

Other pests that can cause holes in holly bush leaves include aphids, mites, and scale insects. These pests feed on the sap of the plant, which can cause the leaves to become discolored and distorted.

You may not even know that you have a problem with pests until you see the damage they’ve done. For this reason, it’s important to inspect your holly bushes regularly for signs of pests or disease.


The second most likely reason for holes in holly bush leaves is disease. Holly bushes are susceptible to a number of diseases, including leaf spot, tar spot, and powdery mildew. These diseases can cause the leaves to become discolored, distorted, and covered in spots.

Disease is most likely to be a problem if your holly bush is stressed. Stress can be caused by a number of factors, including drought, poor drainage, compacted soil, or excessive fertilizer. To reduce the risk of disease, make sure to water your holly bush regularly and fertilize it only as needed.

Tar spot
Tar spot on a holly bush

How to Treat Holly Bush Leaves with Holes?

Once you’ve identified the cause of the holes in your holly bush leaves, you can take steps to treat the problem.

If pests are to blame, you’ll need to use an insecticide. Be sure to follow the instructions on the label carefully, as an improper application can damage the plant. You may need to apply the insecticide multiple times to achieve control.

If disease is the problem, you’ll need to use a fungicide. Again, be sure to follow the instructions on the label carefully. You may need to apply the fungicide multiple times for the best results.

The good news is that there’s one product for both pests and diseases! Neem oil is an organic, all-natural product that can be used to treat a variety of problems. Neem oil kills pests and diseases on contact, while also preventing new infestations from occurring.

To use neem oil on your holly bush, mix it with water according to the instructions on the label. Then, use a sprayer to apply the mixture to the affected leaves. Be sure to cover both the top and bottom of the leaves, as well as the stems. You’ll need to reapply neem oil every few days until the problem is under control.

How to Keep Pests Away From Holly Bush Leaves?

The best way to prevent holes in holly bush leaves is to keep pests away from the plant. Here are a few tips that can help:

  • Inspect your holly bush regularly for signs of pests or disease
  • If you find pests, treat the plant with an insecticide or fungicide as soon as possible
  • Keep the garden clean and free of debris
  • Remove any infested leaves from the plant
  • Use beneficial insects, such as ladybugs and lacewings, to control pests

By following these tips, you can keep your holly bush healthy and free of holes! Not many people are aware of beneficial insects, but using them can really help to control pests in your garden. You can usually find them at your local nursery or garden center.

What Else Causes Holes in Holly Bush Leaves?

There are a few other things that can cause holes in holly bush leaves:

Manual Damage

One is physical damage. This can be caused by wind, hail, or even animals. If you suspect that physical damage is the problem, take a close look at the leaves. If they’re torn or jagged, that’s a good indication that physical damage is to blame.


Another possibility is herbicide damage. If you’ve recently sprayed your holly bush with an herbicide, that could be the cause of the holes. Herbicides can stay active in the soil for up to a year, so if you think this might be the problem, it’s best to wait a year before replanting.


Finally, animals can cause holes in holly bush leaves. Birds, deer, and other animals may eat the leaves of your holly bush, causing damage. If you suspect that an animal is to blame, you may need to take steps to keep them away from your plant.

Should I Prune Holly Bush Leaves with Holes?

Prune the leaves of your holly bush tree if a fungal disease is a cause. Fungal diseases spread quickly through the plant, so it’s important to remove any affected leaves as soon as possible. This will help to prevent the disease from spreading and causing further damage.

To prune holly bush leaves, use sharp, sterilized pruning shears. Cut off any affected leaves, being sure to cut below the point of infection. Dispose of the affected leaves in a plastic bag, and then place them in the trash.


In conclusion, holes in holly bush leaves can be caused by pests, disease, physical damage, herbicide damage, or animals. That said, the holly leafminer is the most common cause of holes in holly bush leaves.

If you suspect that your holly bush has this problem, be sure to treat it with an insecticide as soon as possible. By following these tips, you can keep your holly bush healthy and free of holes! Thanks for reading!

Hi. I am Aaron, the new owner of PlantCarer! I hope you enjoy the content. Please do message me with any questions or comments you may have.

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