The Q&A Archives: Holly Pruning

Question: The holly bushes/trees? in our yard are growing so big I wish to cut back and shape them . What is the best time of year for this? Does it matter how much they are cut back? I don't want to kill them.

Answer: Early spring is a good time to prune hollies. You can safely remove one-third of the live plant material without stressing your plants too much. If you need to prune more, plan to do it next year. While shrubs and trees often survive a more severe pruning, it can compromise their health, making them prone to insect and disease problems and more susceptible to droughty conditions.

One nice effect of pruning is that you'll encourage new growth in the center of the plant, helping to fill in sparse areas that are common to hollies.

Good luck with your pruning!

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