The Q&A Archives: Holly Winter Damage

Question: My holly shrubs seem to have suffered serious damage from the cold winter. Many leaves look burnt and dead. Should I prune all the branches with the damaged leaves? Or, will the leaves fall off and new leaves come so I should leave the shrub alone?

Answer: This is a wait and see situation. Although the foliage is damaged, the branch tips may still be healthy. If so, they will send out new foliage later this spring. For now, you can check and see if the wood is still alive. Live wood will be flexible and have green just inside the bark. Dead wood will be dull brown or gray, and will be brittle and snap in you hand. You can trim off the dead tips now, then wait until even as late as June for new growth.

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