When Should I Trim My Holly Bushes?

A holly bush is a broadleaved evergreen plant that adds an attractive glossy green colour to your landscaping. The leaves have three prongs and some varieties have white leaf margins. The hard, red berries arrive during the winter months and are toxic when ingested. Pruning a holly bush in the correct manner ensures that the bush continues to thrive in your lawn area.


Shape your holly bush only for cosmetic reasons to keep its attractive shape. Prune the bush during the dormant season -- the winter months -- when it is not actively growing. Shaping the plant during the late summer is discouraged by the Texas A&M Aggie Horticulture website, since the cuts may encourage new growth. They may not have time to sufficiently harden before the cold temperatures arrive. It may be necessary to heavily prune old or misshapen bushes by cutting them to within 6 or 8 inches from the ground. Do this after all danger of frost is gone and before the spring growth begins. Prune damaged, old, weak or diseased limbs as soon as possible after discovering the problem.

Sunlight Needs

Holly bushes reach a full, compact growth and produce the most berries in areas with full sunlight. They can tolerate shade if planted in the correct type of soil.

Soil Conditions

Plant your holly bush in an area with well-drained soil. Slightly acidic soil with plenty of organic matter is best suited for this broad-leaf evergreen.


Fertilise the holly bush with an acid-based fertiliser during the late autumn. Add a layer of compost to help it thrive.

Watering Needs

Keep the soil evenly moist around the holly bush. They do not tolerate soggy soil. Adding 5 or 6 inches of mulch to the area helps retain the moisture in the dirt.

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About the Author

Chelsea Fitzgerald covers topics related to family, health, green living and travel. Before her writing career, she worked in the medical field for 21 years. Fitzgerald studied education at the University of Arkansas and University of Memphis.