Savannah and American Holly Tree - Knowledgebase Question

Houma, Lo
Question by robbiejmizel
March 10, 2010
I am confused about Savannah and American Holly trees. Do I have to have more than one each of these trees in order that they will berry? If so how do you know the male/female trees? When I see them in garden center they all have berries. I live in Houma La.


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Answer from NGA
March 10, 2010

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Don't be confused! There seems to be a lot of misinformation out there. In general, most hollies need a pollinizer in order to set berries. That male plant can be up to a quarter of a mile away and insects still manage to transfer pollen so the female sets berries. This, I think, is where the confusion lies and people get the idea that the female holly sets fruit without a male being nearby. The Savannah holly (Ilex x attenuata 'Savannah') has American holly parentage and is touted as not needing a pollinator, but in fact it does and any American holly male can serve as the pollinator. You see berries on the plants in the nursery because they have been in close proximity to male hollies while they were flowering. 'Jersey Knight' is a male pollen source for Savannah and other female American hollies. Or you can plant Savannah on its own in your garden to see if she produces berries. If so, there's a male American holly somewhere in your neighborhood and you won't need to plant a second holly in your yard. If she doesn't produce berries, you'll need to plant a male. Holly tags should indicate whether or not the plant is male. Best wishes with your landscape!

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