The Q&A Archives: Controlling the growth of a Nellie R. Stevens scrub

Question: Can I control the growth of a Nellie R. Stevens scrub by pruning

Answer: You can prune your holly to keep it neat and tidy. The easiest way to keep the plants looking natural is to remove anything you consider to be errant growth by cutting it back at various lengths. With my shrubs, I carefully prune back anything that's exceptionally long or heading in the wrong direction by cutting the stem back to a node that's buried behind the rest of the stems on the shrub. This method disguises cut ends. Wherever you cut you can expect two new stems to appear so cutting lower than the rest of the growth will essentially produce a denser growth habit. Also, if you vary the length of each of the stems you cut back, the result will be a more natural look. If you shear a shrub so that every stem is the same length, it will take on a formal, sheared look. Just do some random cutting and your hollies will look natural.

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