Trimming back a Holly tree

Discussion in 'Turf Renovation' started by Edwardsville IL.PLS, Apr 6, 2008.

  1. Edwardsville IL.PLS

    Edwardsville IL.PLS LawnSite Member
    Posts: 42

    Need some specifics on proper trimming on a 7ft. Holly that the owner wants trimmed down height wise and shaped like a Christmas tree. Never shaped a Holly before. Is this doable without harming the tree?
  2. PSUturf

    PSUturf LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 663

    Just don't remove more than 25% of the foliage at one time.
  3. RAlmaroad

    RAlmaroad LawnSite Silver Member
    from SC
    Posts: 2,197

    Do you know the holly. Foster holly #2 is a nice open holly. You can remove several of the layerd branches from the trunk and lighten it up. As mentioned remove only about 1/4 of the height. To me 7' is just a baby. I have them about 25ft high. and trimed to about 8' wide. Foster's look good with the first limbs off of the ground.
    American holly is deep green with a more rounded leaf and thicker. (Sorta the Christmas Holly sterotype) They should be trimmed with in and out motive with small snips where the branches form a 10-2 pattern and cutting out the middle section. Hard to explain. Their growing pattern should be from the ground up with the bottom 1/3 forming a thick bottom or they will droop and look awful with too many small twiggy branches.
    Good Luck, Check the yellow pages for an Arborist and he/she may talk with you, or call your local Extension Agent and ask for one of the Master Gardeners from the State program that deals with trees.
  4. Edwardsville IL.PLS

    Edwardsville IL.PLS LawnSite Member
    Posts: 42

    Thanks, I appreciate the help
  5. phasthound

    phasthound LawnSite Platinum Member
    Posts: 4,584

    Yeah it's very doable. Many years ago at Rutgers U., they made the decision to greatly reduce many large Hollys. The pruning was drastic enough that they called it "hat racking". In other words, they cut them back so far that almost all the foliage was removed & the trees looked like old time hat racks. They are now full beautiful Hollys.
    Pruning should be done before new growth starts.

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