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help with straggly holly

Hi all, totally newbie here so apologies for lack of detail and knowledge! We bought a holly several years ago in the dead plants section of the garden centre. It was yellowing and sad looking but it was pruned into a ball on a long stem and was, in theory, very attractive. It was totally waterlogged so we took it home, repotted it and added plenty of iron supplement. We gave it a bit of a trim and over the next couple of years it really perked up. We bought it a male companion and they both flowered and we got some berries. Recently, however, the original female tree has been getting leggier and leggier, with leaves only at the very tips of the branches. The main ball of the tree is not more than a foot and a half wide so it's not suffering from lack of light. Some of the branches end up with no leaves at all and just die off. It has just put out a whole bunch of new leaves but again, these seem to be only at the tips of a few branches. I'm wondering whether a hard prune will result in new branches or will totally kill it. I'm just keen to get it back up and bushy again but I'm not sure where to start!


  • fidgetbonesfidgetbones Posts: 17,265
    Holly will usually respond well to a hard pruning.  I have murdered a holly hedge and it comes back. Give it a feed and a good soaking afterwards.
  • thanks fidgetbones, do you think wait until the winter?
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