Pruning Variegated Holly Tree

Hi Fellow Gardeners Glad we have had some rain at last! Can anyone suggest what I can do to my variegated Holly Tree. It isn't very old and it wasn't thriving where I had planted it (to shady) , so I moved it to a more sunnier spot. It has certainly improved and put on new growth to the tips of the branches, but the leaves are at the tips of the branches only. Can I improve it by pruning it, if so how and when? Should I cut the leading shoot and hope for a bushier tree, your advice would be most welcome. Also there are very few berries on it, but when I read the label before I bought it it said it was self-fertile and didn't require another tree to pollinate it!


  • fidgetbonesfidgetbones Posts: 13,925

    You can prune holly to what shape you want at any time. Its pretty bombproof.

    You don't stop doing new things because you get old, you get old because you stop doing new things. <3
  • Hi Jan and fidgetbones. We bought a house last year which has a mature variegated holly in the front garden, and which probably stands about 20-25 ft tall. In the past it has been pruned to a pyramid shape but is now getting a bit large and unruly so I would like to have it topped and reshaped. My husband read that it wasn't a good time to cut holly in the summer, but my neighbour has just had her tree shaped, so now I'm confused too.

  • fidgetbonesfidgetbones Posts: 13,925

    I've cut holly at all times of year, depending on when I've got the time and inclination. It never seems to have bothered mine.

    You don't stop doing new things because you get old, you get old because you stop doing new things. <3
  • That's good to know fidgetbones...I will get the tree surgeon in to do it. My husband offered to get up the ladder, but I said we would probably need a medical surgeon if he did it, so no thank you!!!

    Have you ever noticed that parts of the tree losing its variegation? I have a 'patch' which just has yellow leaves. Do you think I should get this cut out? It is not in the shade but has good light. Just a blip maybe?

  • fidgetbonesfidgetbones Posts: 13,925

    Its a sport (see eleagnus thread). It probably wouldn't grow on its own roots as not enough chlorophyll to support it. Its too weak to take over, so you could cut it out or leave it. Patches of all dark green tend to be stronger and I would cut them out.

     We severely pruned some green holly in an overgrown hedge last August and it is fine now.

    You don't stop doing new things because you get old, you get old because you stop doing new things. <3
  • OK, thanks. I'll see whether the tree surgeon takes it out when he reshapes the tree.

  • FairygirlFairygirl west central ScotlandPosts: 28,189

    Like fidget I've hacked holly back at various times. It's tough and it regrows well. Sometimes you do it a favour in fact and it makes a good hedge. We inherited a large neglected holly at last house which I spent an afternoon sorting out. Many branches were crossingand it was tangled up in other shrubs and hedge. Lots of  leaves were almost white. It improved it no end and looked great the following year.image

    It's a place where beautiful isn't enough of a word....

  • If you cut back too far will it regenerate. Just not sure whether to go mad or not!

Sign In or Register to comment.