When to plant holly trees

Written by diane dilov-schultheis
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When to plant holly trees
Only female holly trees produce red berries. (Scoobers/iStock/Getty Images)

Holly includes hundreds of species of shrubs and trees. Hollies are known for producing dark green, glossy leaves and vivid red berries used in Christmas decorations. The English holly is a common tree-type variety that can reach more than 12 metres (40 feet) tall with spreads of over 4.5 metres (15 feet).

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When to plant

Trees perform best when planted during periods of modest rainfall and temperatures. This allows the tree's root system to become established and adapt before the hot dry days of summer or the freezing temperatures of winter arrive. For these reasons, either early spring or the beginning of autumn are the best times to plant hollies. Wait until the last chance of frost has passed before planting.

Holly tree choice

Select only female holly trees, if you want holly trees that produce the red berries and there is already a male holly tree nearby for the required pollination. Plant at least one male holly tree for each three female trees planted in areas without other holly trees to ensure proper pollination and berry production.

Planting location

Plant holly trees in sites with full sun to partial shade, wind protection and well-drained soil. Find a planting location that allows the room required for the expected size of the holly tree at maturity in both width and height. Use the full-size width measurement to determine the spacing needed when planting several holly trees in a row or in a small area. Keep the planting holes at least as far apart as the expected width of the holly tree.

Planting guide

Water the holly tree well before planting. The hole to plant the holly tree must be about 5 cm (2 inches) shallower -- and no less than three times the width of the container (or root system) the holly tree is presently in. Place the tree in the centre of the hole. Fill the hole halfway and then use your hands to firm the soil around the roots. Finish filling the hole and then soak the area with water to remove air from the soil and to settle the holly tree in place.

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