How to Trim a Holly Bush or Tree

Harold Dean Sink By Harold Dean Sink, 13th Oct 2011 | Follow this author | RSS Feed | Short URL
Posted in Wikinut>Guides>Gardening>Pruning

These usefull tips will help you to trim a holly well. Being careful while trimming will save you a trip to the emergency room.

Holly Bushes are Painful to Prune

Very carefully!

All joking aside, to trim a holly bush or tree is not the easiest of chores to do. Unless you have done it before (which you would not need to read this article) you will need to take precautions from injuring yourself.

Here are a few things to have handy to trim a holly tree or bush.

  • Rubber gloves,
  • Hand pruners,
  • Electric clippers and power cord,
  • Extending saw,
  • Coping saw, and
  • A bag to put all the debris into.

The first thing you want to do is check to see if it is even worth trimming. You may find that you need to completely remove it. Hollies are sturdy plants, but no matter how termite resilient they are a holly can still die with poor health.

Check the leaves for dark or light discoloration. Should you find an entire branch like this, cut it back to where it comes off from its leading branch. This will allow for it to heal on its own without having to purchase any of the expensive limb curing balm.

If it does look like you have termites in your holly then either cut it down, and have a termite specialist come out, or just do the latter of the two. My holly bush is actually a dwarf tree, and it was infected with termites when I moved in. Since I am licensed to treat for termites, I was able to nip it in the bud before they could do any more damage. Of course, I then had to treat the other plants and the house.

If the leaves look okay but some branches are puny or brittle, cut those off, too. This is a sign you need to treat the soil. Most plants can have their leaves fall down around them and as they deteriorate they become nutrients in the soil. Not so with hollies.

Rake those leaves out and do not put in mulch. Their fallen leaves can easily become diseased and cause poor soil content or high acidity in the soil. Too much acidity will eventually kill a holly.

To shape a holly bush or tree you may want to think out the shape first before you start cutting it. Start at the top. If you need a ladder to get to the top, then climb up the ladder and work from the back first. The back does not have to be perfect, and nobody will notice if you fudge it a bit. As you are doing that step back once in a while to make certain that you are not cutting in too far.

Work your way around to the front of the holly bush or tree, and keep trimming at the top until it looks the way you want it. This can be a two hour ordeal if you have a holly tree so take some breaks and cool off from all that hard work. There is no need wear yourself out on it. Make sure you have your gloves on when trimming as leaves will fall down on you and we know how painful they can be. If you need to, wear a hat.

The next thing you can do is to rake up the fallen limbs and twigs so that you have a clear path to keep working around the holly bush or tree without tripping. Keep shaping the bush until you have it completely trimmed. The hand pruner will come in handy for tweaking the overall shape and cutting below close to the ground. This will help keep the ground warm and make it easy for you to mulch the ground around the base of the plant.

Once you are done, clean up the mess and admire the work you have accomplished.


Bush, Holly, How To, Tree, Trim

Meet the author

author avatar Harold Dean Sink
I do not feel that I am a professional writer, per say, but I do my best to get my point across to others. I am more of an artist, and hope in the end that will be all that I do. For now, this is me

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