How to Prune Holly Trees
When to Prune Holly Trees
How to Prune Holly Trees Easily
The surprising thing is that Holly Trees generally don’t require pruning. While some pruning maintenance as you Holly Tree ages is a good idea especially with damaged or unruly branches, most of the time Hollies have a natural shape that stays tidy. This is one of the best features of Holly plants in general. So unless you are quite particular or have a Holly Hedge you want in a very uniform shape, you won’t need to prune your Holly Trees often or maybe ever!
Always prune off dead, sick, or broken branches to keep your Holly Trees healthy and looking nice. These types of injuries can weaken your plant if not removed in a timely fashion and invite in unwanted pests that can harm your tree further.
A trim up can be a good idea if you like a clean look or are keeping a holly tree hedge. Work with the natural shape of your Holly Trees for best results. Simply prune off new growth or up to ⅓ of the overall plant. Never prune the lower branches shorter than the upper branches. The lower branches won’t have good light penetration and your holly bush will suffer.
For size control or invigorating an older overgrown plant, severe pruning can be implemented. Holly Trees can be pruned back to the ground. This seems drastic, but fresh, new growth may be just what your old Holly Tree needs. If you are in a colder climate a slower approach to rejuvenation pruning may be best. Prune back the plant by ⅓ overall and then remove ⅓ of the largest branches all the way to ground level or back to where they meet another stem. The heading cuts should be trimmed back to right above an outward facing bud for best results. The thinning cuts can be staggered from the ground to about 12 inches for a more natural look. If your Holly Trees are looking sparse at the bottom and you would like them to be more filled in, I would suggest pruning all the thinning cuts back to the ground within 6 inches or so.
Holly Pruning Pro Tips
- Depending on the Holly Tree you have you may want to use gloves and wear long sleeves and pants to avoid injury.
- Loppers may be a better tool over small hand pruners for those prickly Holly bushes.
- Sterilize pruners between plants to maintain good horticultural practices and reduce disease in your landscape.