Holly bushes are evergreens that are known for adding a vibrant color to winter landscapes. Their glossy green leaves and winter-blooming bright red berries make holly bushes common as complementary bushes or as standalone hedges. One of the selling points of holly bushes is their ease of care, although there are a few things you can do to have your holly bushes looking their best. Read below for tips on holly bush care.
Make sure you plant your holly bushes in an area that is not prone to retaining a lot of water. Locations that hold a lot of water following rain or snow can cause problems with your holly bushes. The optimal area to plant your holly bushes should receive full sun, although morning sun and afternoon shade is feasible. Water the plants once every week, or when the top two inches of the soil is dry. You should irrigate the plants around the base of the trunks, providing enough water to dampen the top eight inches of soil. This watering should continue throughout the winter, unless the ground is frozen.
Mulching your holly bushes is essential to their health because it aids the plants in retaining moisture and acquiring the proper nutrients. Spread a two-inch layer of either compost or wood chips around the base of your holly bushes, leaving a gap of a few inches between the mulch and the trunk. This way, any pests that have taken residence in the mulch will not damage the wood of the plants.
You should fertilize your holly plants six weeks before the first expected frost of the season. An acid-based fertilizer works best for holly bushes. Make sure it is designed specifically for evergreens, and follow the directions on the product's package. To control the shape of your bushes, you may prune them as needed. Overgrown branches can be pruned to within one-quarter of an inch of a leaf or bud. Light trimming can take place at any time, but save major alterations for winter after the plant's berries have bloomed.