Pruning Young Holly - Knowledgebase Question

Fairport, NY
Question by ndohrn
April 3, 2000
Two seasons ago I planted blue prince and princess holly. This variety gets to be 10-15 feet high/wide at maturity. It seems to be a very slow grower, although I do see some growth and the female produced nice berries this fall. Both have a long leader branch coming out from the middle of the shrub. I'm intending to use them as a screen, so I'd like them to be both tall and wide. Should I cut this leader back or leave it alone? How long does it take for these shrubs to reach 6 feet? (Right now they're at about 3 feet.)

Answer from NGA
April 3, 2000


These shrubs have a naturally tidy and pyramidal shape when grown in the open in full sun, so no pruning should really be necessary in the long run. Early growth on young plants may show a central leader but they will fill in, in time. They do grow slowly, so I would plan on waiting three to five years or more for that type of height. To encourage premium growth, make sure they receive adequate water from the hose or the sky all season long so that the soil is evenly moist yet not soggy up until the ground freezes each winter. Winter protection from wind can also help them stay vigorous. These are good quality plants and worth the wait.

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