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Ilex JC van tol

Hi this is my first post. Hope you can help. My daughter lives bottom of a hill and overlooked. She has a brick retaining wall to one side.  She has bought 2 ilex van tol to plant near wall to provide screen, interest and for wildlife.  However since been told these plants are invasive and could damage wall in time.  Is this true? .   She will plant approx 2.5 feet from wall and keep trimmed to height of 7 foot? Thank you in advance


  • Oh forgot to add, the ground level where holly planted is approx 3 foot up wall from base. Hope that makes sense xx
  • Silver surferSilver surfer Posts: 4,591
    edited March 2022
    Welcome to the forums!
    First I would like to ask where you live?

    In UK where these forums originate I have never heard of  any Ilex ..common name holly becoming invasive or causing problems.
    However that may be completely different in other countries.
    It will be many  many years before they would be any danger to the wall.

    Perthshire. SCOTLAND .
  • FairygirlFairygirl Posts: 53,966
    Very strange indeed @Silver surfer  :/
    Any extra info would be helpful @goldiefloss, but if you're in the UK, they won't be problematic at all.  :)
    It's a place where beautiful isn't enough of a word....

    I live in west central Scotland - not where that photo is...
  • JennyJJennyJ Posts: 9,602
    It could get very tall in time if not clipped, but I don't think it spreads at the roots. I suppose there's a chance that the roots might push against the wall if they're closer than the eventual width of the rootball, but if it's strong enough to hold back the weight of the soil, a couple of shrubs/trees shouldn't be a problem as long as they're not right up close.
    Maybe it's the potential for height that whoever it was who said they were invasive was thinking of.  The house across from us has a pair of hollies in the front garden that the owner kept clipped into lollipops probably about 1.5 or 2 metres tall (not everyone's cup of tea I know). They moved away, the new owners didn't keep up the clipping and now one is a fat column shape about 2 metres across and taller than the house, and the other is a wider pyramid with the top about level with the guttering (on a standard 2-storey house). They look OK from here but I might not want them near my boundary!
    Doncaster, South Yorkshire. Soil type: sandy, well-drained
  • Silver surferSilver surfer Posts: 4,591
    Terminology is the problem.
    Holly can get huge and enormous  but that is very different to invasive.
    Perthshire. SCOTLAND .
  • JennyJJennyJ Posts: 9,602
    Exactly so, @Silver surfer . But we don't know who it was that said they're invasive or whether that's actually what they meant. I was suggesting possibilities. Particularly if it was a neighbour who doesn't fancy huge tall hollies casting shade or is scared (possibly an unfounded fear) that they might push the wall down.
    Doncaster, South Yorkshire. Soil type: sandy, well-drained
  • Thank you everyone.  We live in UK, Kent.  
  • It was a family member, not an expert, who suggested Holly may cause damage to wall in time.  We thought it better to check before planting.  I have read they have a taper root that goes straight down, so should be OK?  Thanks also for Welcome :) 
  • TheGreenManTheGreenMan Posts: 1,957
    The RHS published a landscaping guide all about choosing non-invasive plants and JC Van Tol is named specifically as a non-invasive recommendation

  • JennyJJennyJ Posts: 9,602
    edited March 2022
    I would check on the expected width/spread at maturity and plant them half that distance in from the wall, and the full spread apart from each other, if they're going to be allowed to grow naturally (which is best if you want berries for the birds to eat).
    Edit: I just noticed that they're going to be clipped, so they could be closer to each other but you'll need to allow space to get round the back. 2.5 feet from the trunks to the wall doesn't sound very much to me (although it probably looks huge at the moment while they're still small).
    Doncaster, South Yorkshire. Soil type: sandy, well-drained
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