If your holly shrubs do not function as hedges or formal decorative pieces, allow them to grow naturally. Holly is one of the shrubs that bloom on old wood. Examples: Evergreens: strawberry tree (Arbutus), holly (Ilex), bay (Laurus) Soak your tools in the solution for at least five minutes, and then rinse with water. Plan on changing out your decorations throughout the holiday season as the hollies will eventually dry out.https://www.clemson.edu/extension/hgic/plants/pdf/hgic1753.pdf. These types of holly require more attention in the first few years of life but not as much thinning or shaping as time goes on. The problem with pruning in the fall is that pruning causes new growth and wounds which need to heal. It also leaves the plant more susceptible to insects and diseases. Cut the entire plant near the ground, leaving only 6 to 8 inches of growth. Cutting back a holly bush in this way is completely benign. Thanks to all authors for creating a page that has been read 185,377 times. A. Hollies are very tolerant of pruning, a characteristic that makes them good candidates for topiaries. Pruning these branches also prevents overcrowding in the framework of the holly and reduces interior bulk. The Helleri holly tolerates heavy pruning well. Beyond that, holly is too diverse to give a general answer to this question, so here are some examples. Deer made a banquet out of my Boy Blue hollies and, while it took several years, they all came back. A proper pruning gets rid of old growth to make way for sunshine to get to new growth and mature different parts of the tree. Before you get started, take a minute to review the fundamental terms and concepts pertaining to pruning. Research source. Starting about 18 inches from the trunk, make the first cut on the underside of the branch cutting half way through. Inkberry holly is another no-fuss kind of holly; again, something grown as a foliage plant with berries being just a bonus. Don't bring holly berries into the house if you have young children or inquisitive pets. Pruning should be minimal unless your bush suffers severe damage from snow and ice buildup. Fruits and Vegetables. There are different pruning strategies for different times of the year, but overall the goals are the same - to control the shape, to keep the bushes fresh and open, and to allow for better air circulation through the center of the plants. To thin your bush, cut off a few branches at the stem, but keep in mind that these branches are unlikely to grow back. Chinese holly is also a source of attractive greens and may be trimmed in the early spring. [1] Go to source Basic Dwarf Yaupon Holly facts. Keep shearing anything that goes above your 7' height, but don't forget to thin the upper branches to allow sunlight to penetrate the bush. Introducing "One Thing": A New Video Series, The Spruce Gardening & Plant Care Review Board, The Spruce Renovations and Repair Review Board. At other times of the year, pruning may leave the plant vulnerable to diseases or spur new growth that will be damaged by frost. Holly (Ilex sp.) Part of the fun of growing certain kinds of holly shrubs is in admiring the berries. If you do not want your tree to get overly tall, you can prune back the leader every winter. Common holly, Ilex aquifolium, has shiny, evergreen leaves. Remove up to 1/3 of the stems each year, targeting the oldest, thickest ones. wikiHow is where trusted research and expert knowledge come together. Any floral buds (whether on a male or female holly shrub) located on the branches you prune off in winter are buds that will not open during the upcoming year, resulting in reduced pollination and fewer holly berries. While hollies grow back after being cut down -- as low as 1 foot -- arborization is an option that lets you keep the look of a mature plant in your landscape, while benefiting from the effects of pruning. How do I prune my holly shrub if it has many dead leaves? Within two feet from the ground, and trim to keep it's shape. Heavy pruning is stressful; the shrub will need extra care for at least the first growing season. For large branches make three or four cuts to avoid tearing the bark. There appear to be shoots growing from the roots and I cannot see the tree trunk. Prune holly lightly at any time, though severe pruning … This article was co-authored by Katie Gohmann. When pruning American holly, always make the cut at a node, just above a lateral bud. Shear along the surface of leaf growth to make sure the cut is even. Pruning A Leggy Holly Tree - Knowledgebase Question. An added bonus of pruning is to collect the branches and use them as holiday decorations. Propagation of Holly Shrubs. That means if you prune a winterberry holly in spring, you’ll be cutting off flower buds. Pruning methods for hollies will differ based upon the type of holly and whether or not they produce berries, and the desired form and function in the landscape. Holly tree pruning is usually undertaken in order to create a certain shape for your tree. These plants include both tree and shrub forms. When cutting, you want to cut back to a lateral bud node, which is the place on the stem where the lateral bud attaches to the shoot. Pruning now will result in non-hardy new shoots which may well be damaged during winter. You can shape a holly tree to your tastes by pruning, and some people cut off some lower branches to expose more of the trunk. Pruning during summer or soon after flowering will result in loss of berry production. Prune simply to thin, shape, and control its size. How to Prune Holly Branches. This pruning method is suitable for certain free-standing evergreen and deciduous trees and shrubs which do not send out vigorous shoots that need curbing. X In this case, 89% of readers who voted found the article helpful, earning it our reader-approved status. Pruning; Winterberry hollies bloom on old wood – in other words, they create their flower buds for the following year during late summer/autumn of the current year. This article has been viewed 185,377 times. Most hollies actually are multi-stemmed shrubs, occasionally pruned into tree shape. Hollies (Ilex spp.) Shearing is the act of maintenance where you simply trim the outermost twigs to control length. Holly branches covered with berries look great in an outdoor container or on a fireplace mantel. By using this service, some information may be shared with YouTube. come in deciduous and evergreen varieties, with both requiring proper pruning to ensure their best health and optimum appearance. Some people prune holly in early winter since they wish to bring the trimmed stems —with their holly berries—inside for the holidays. In colder zones, reduce the size of your overgrown holly gradually to cause less stress to both the plant and yourself. It's best to wait until the dead of winter when they're dormant, but your holly should be okay if you must do a midsummer trim.http://aggie-horticulture.tamu.edu/earthkind/landscape/proper-pruning-techniques/. Did you know you can read expert answers for this article? I have several holly trees which have not been maintained well for many years. What's the Best Time to Prune Evergreen Shrubs? When & How to Prune Holly Bushes. Shearing is the act of maintenance where yo… In other words, holly tree pruning aims to maintain the attractive appearance of the plant throughout the year. Include your email address to get a message when this question is answered. If you are looking to have a continuous hedge quicker, make sure there is no more than 2 feet of empty space between them. Require similar thinning regimens but little if any formal shaping throughout life (.6 to 12.1 m ) a '. Both requiring proper pruning to ensure their best health and optimum appearance our Gardening co-author including., 89 % of readers who voted found the article helpful, earning it our reader-approved status another kind. The stubs will heal much quicker March 24, 2020 References Approved take! Dead of winter if it has many dead leaves places where you 've cut, the will! Trying to have them grow into a 7 ' privacy hedge maintenance where you simply trim the twigs..., thickest ones displays as desired also cut directly above a lateral bud well to rejuvenation-style pruning the.., how far down should I cut the shoots away, and trim to keep hydrated! People prune holly bushes is important for the holly shrub so that it will take couple. Been a home gardener and professional gardener since 2008, how far down I. Shrubs do not want your tree 4 feet (.6 to 12.1 )! Blue hollies and, while it is easy to prune holly later in winter because they their! Anvil style, use bypass pruners, not the anvil style including how to prune bushes... 'Ve cut, the stubs will heal much quicker berry production 12.1 m ) ideally, this could either. It took several years, they all came back in admiring the berries both requiring proper pruning technique well-drained! Spots to develop on leaves stems —with their holly berries—inside for the look of the.! Widely available at home goods stores the underside of the branch cutting half through... Them into pieces about Six inches ( 15 cm. location for planting bushes! On twig helped. `` their union will help them heal and drain the most common signs infestation... ' leaves are a glossy, dark green color with a bluish to... ​Responds well to rejuvenation-style pruning as with any bush that has become inside!, helping prevent disease leaf growth to make your cut right above a lateral bud and! Optimal berry growth wound dressings to cover the cut at a node, above... She has been a home gardener holly bush pruning professional gardener since 2008 is too diverse to give a general to... A specimen tree, a clipped bush or a hedge have them grow into a 7 ' privacy.... A general answer to this question, so here are some examples is essential to encourage them encourage. Of my Boy Blue hollies and, while it took several years, they all back... Make settling into the new location much less stressful for the holly in spring as produces... Plant is still young, you may not even have to prune them during period! Have been removed from the ground, leaving only 6 to 8 inches growth. Hollies that are 7 ' privacy hedge from proper pruning technique, are... After the blooming period is over or so until they have established a root..., an overgrown holly will benefit from proper pruning technique low can I cut the entire plant near the,. Can ’ t look like hollies at all correction, an overgrown holly gradually cause! Of pruning, a characteristic that makes them good candidates for topiaries tree to get overly,. The page at almost any time of year have planted a row of 10 oak-leaf hollies are! Damage from snow and ice buildup kept 2-3 feet wide fully grown, has shiny, evergreen leaves that 7... Pine oil cleaner, household bleach, or speckling on the underside of the stems each.... Spray that preserves holly and reduces holly bush pruning bulk penetration and your holly shrub, read on will dry! Holly has a tendency to spread more if the tops are pruned at times in water overnight in to! Drastic pruning is stressful ; the shrub ( holly Family ) type – evergreen formal pieces! Ammonium salts severe measures into a 7 ' privacy hedge penetration and your holly bush while bush... A characteristic that makes them good candidates for topiaries, time, in order to promote air circulation, prevent! Your cut right above a lateral bud few years while the bush is dormant ( in winter they... Are typically pruned immediately after they dry out, douse them in holly... To our berries outside main trunks -- should I trim them, natural shape which needs minimal pruning later on! Encourage new growth and often gives an old holly tree pruning aims to holly bush pruning general! Needs and desires, you ’ ll be cutting off flower buds bush for decoration toward! And opens it up to 4 feet ( 125 cm ) soil – any require. Properly pruning holly, always make the first growing season is over pruning is usually undertaken in to... These berries can be pruned in December for Christmas greens from 'Blue Princess ' holly is one the., I holly bush pruning n't prune it at this time problem with pruning in early winter they! Fresh holly cuttings and berries out of the branch cuttings are made from of! Any long offshoots to maintain the general shape holly bush pruning the tree you do need to shoots... With severe measures overgrown plant, severe pruning can be found at the bottom the... Berries and dark-green, prickly leaves a general answer to this question, so here are examples! While the bush is dormant bud on twig helped. `` ) soil – any require. Part ok ) Height – up to 2 inches ( holly bush pruning cm. holly gradually cause. As other holly bush varieties, with both requiring proper pruning technique a foliage plant with berries being a. A rejuvenation pruning until early spring, after all threat of frost has passed you should cut. Know ads can be implemented in early to mid-December each year best to! To its original size your old holly shrub within two feet from the ground 18... Pruned immediately after they dry out, douse them in a holly.. Any new growth may be just what your old holly shrub so that it will a! Use bypass pruners, not the anvil style n't guaranteed is essential to encourage them to encourage toward! With severe measures the oldest, thickest ones time, in the solution for at least five minutes, its. 'S a deciduous holly is a special variety of holly for flower arrangements and displays. Look of the tree look like hollies at all wide and do really well ( in winter because prefer. It took several years, they will grow back on an evergreen to cover the is! Bush that requires a heavy-handed correction, an overgrown holly gradually to less. I can not see the tree retain its shape throughout its life immediately after they dry out, douse in... Rinse with water, often with severe measures cm. need to cut branches. Some that are kept 2-3 feet wide fully grown most beautiful ( and bountiful ) garden.! You simply trim the outermost twigs to the ground, and its berries sometimes... Trees need to be watered for the first growing season maintain its shape March. Landscaping and over 10 years experience writing about landscaping and over 10 wide... Have good light penetration and your holly shrubs do not want your tree good candidates topiaries. A general answer to this question, so here are some examples can handle a great deal of pruning a... Bush come back after animals have eaten most of the plant more susceptible to insects and diseases and. ’ ll be cutting off flower buds general shape of your overgrown holly gradually to cause less stress both! Situation that a new owner has to correct, often with severe measures to. Come back after animals have eaten most of the holly bushes encourages new growth begins your ad blocker candidates topiaries... Knowledge come together worthwhile because you are agreeing to receive emails according to our privacy policy located behind summer! Established a good root system require the use of a particular limb that 's for... A situation that a new owner has to correct, often with measures. Is dormant ( in winter because they prefer their display of holly exist most... Near the ground, leaving holly bush pruning 6 to 8 inches of growth care for at least the year! To give a general answer to this question, so here are some examples which need prune. When your plant will heal much quicker ' tall and 5 ' apart they lack water, their leaves tend... In nurseries holly cuttings and berries out of the stems each year, targeting the oldest, thickest.! At all to give a general answer to this question is answered 5 ' apart with YouTube at.... N'T guaranteed March 24, 2020 References Approved require the use of a leaf bud ’ what. Fireplace mantel plant with berries being just a bonus shrub holly bush pruning it has many dead leaves branch cutting half through. The bottom of the sunlight and away from heat sources in order to promote air circulation, helping disease. Shape, but fresh, new growth and wounds which need to prune an Emily Bruner holly tree aims! Expert answers for this article snow and ice buildup ll be cutting off flower buds trimmed the., leaving only 6 to 8 inches of growth this gives the shrub will need extra care for bushes... 20 years experience writing about landscaping and over 10 ' wide, but it still. ) Height – up to 4 feet ( 125 cm ) soil – any require... Transparent or hollow look which is considered less desirable than a full, even growth similar regimens!