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Can any holly be made into a standard?

Peanuts3Peanuts3 Posts: 759

I have a scraggy holly at the end of the garden, is there any way I can make it into a standard, not looking for an instant fix on this one, but where would I start? I cut it back at the end of the summer but not with a standard in mind.  It was a v leggy holly so I was looking to tighten it up a bit and then I saw this standard holly and thought maybe I could try and work towards something like that.  Any advice on where to start ? 

Thank you. 






  • nutcutletnutcutlet Posts: 27,427

    Keep the most shapely stem and see if you can get it upright. Cut the other 2 back to base. Cut any low branches off the chosen one, right back to trunk.  don't cut the leader back til it reaches the height required. 

    I've been trying to shape one of mine. Not to a standard but a sort of cone. It's taking a very long time to fill out

    In the sticks near Peterborough
  • Peanuts3Peanuts3 Posts: 759

    great, thank you. Patience required I feel or a magic wand image

  • ObelixxObelixx Posts: 30,019

    It looks undernourished to me so feed it and, if possible, trim back any nearby growth which is shading it from light and rain.   You'll be able to see your standard much better if it has less visual competitition too.

    Vendée - 20kms from Atlantic coast.
    "We don't stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing." - George Bernard Shaw
  • Ilex will take quite a lot of punishment, even cutting it right back to the main trunk.  Select the leader and remove the competing branches back to base.  I would do any pruning right now, making sure you feed the tree at least twice in the spring to stimulate new growth.  It'll take years to achieve the standard look you want, but you might as well start now.  Prune it annually in into an obelisk shape and then begin to selectively remove the lower branches.  As Verdun suggests, it will certainly require staking.

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