Holly trees require pruning in order to maintain health and shape and there are a few tips you should know before beginning the process. Holly trees are popular choices for landscapes and gardens across the United States for a variety of reasons. The holly tree has long provided decoration for winter holiday wreaths and celebrations, and its spiky foliage makes an excellent dense privacy and protection screen or hedge planting. Holly's deep green foliage and vibrant red berries dot the landscape with plenty of winter visual interest at a time when nearly all other plant life has fallen dormant. Best of all, holly trees are reputedly very easy to grow and care for, thriving in conditions where other plant life might do well just to survive, and needing minimal ongoing care. One exception to this, however, is pruning.
To begin, assemble sharp pruning shears and scissors and make sure that you have sanitizer gel handy to disinfect shears between cuts. This will reduce the spread of disease or pests should these conditions be discovered during pruning. It is very important to pick the right season to prune holly trees. For best results, experts recommend that heavy pruning be done only in December when holly trees are not experiencing growth. However, if the need is for light maintenance pruning only, pruning can be done nearly any time.
To begin, remove any weeds, dead foliage or debris around the base of holly trees. Next, remove dead, damaged, or diseased branches and foliage. Prune along the holly tree's natural shape, taking care not to prune lower branches to be shorter than upper branches. Remove weaker or crosswise growing branches by pruning just above a growth node or just where the branch curves into the trunk. For weaker plants, you can cut them back to just above the ground in winter.