Blue holly (Ilex x meserveae) grows faster and
may require more frequent pruning to maintain a neat natural
shape. These evergreen hollies tend to grow as large rounded
shrubs. They are best pruned by removing any crossing branches
and by removing the occasional wild stem at its point of origin.
Although blue holly tolerates shearing, it is also preferable to
maintain its natural shape by hand pruning.
Sheared Blue Prince Holly
Ilex x meserveae
Deciduous hollies, also known as winterberries
(Ilex verticillata, Ilex serrata), are upright arching shrubs
that lose their leaves in the winter. Their brilliant red fruits
shine like beacons in winterís dull gray landscape. These shrubs
are best pruned by removing individual canes at ground level.
Remove those that are weak and spindly and those that have
suckered up beyond the boundaries you have set for the shrub.
Remove about one-third of those stems that are thicker than your
thumb, too. These older canes do not flower and set fruit as
well as younger canes.
Cutting Holly for Holidays
It is fine to give all kinds of hollies a light trim in December
in order to make holiday decorations. Save the real pruning for
March, especially if you need to rejuvenate badly overgrown
hollies. By then you can easily see any winter damage on
evergreen hollies so you can prune it out before new growth
begins later in spring. Although it is fine to remove dead or
wayward branches when you find them, avoid pruning hollies hard
after mid-July. Pruning always forces new growth, and new growth
after mid-July may not harden off enough before winter cold
arrives. That tender growth could be killed by the cold.
A holly can be either male or female,
with the females getting the red berries. It is
usually necessary to have a male holly within 500
feet for a female to get pollinated and develop
As far as your new hollies are concerned, wait
until March, and then remove any crossing branches and/or
competing central leaders (for pyramidal-shaped types). When
pruning young plants, your goal is always to create a strong
basic framework to support future growth.
Black spots on Holly
Holly tree without Berries?
Brown leaf blotches are probably Holly Leafminer