How Much Can A Holly Be Cut Back Without Killing It?

Filed Under: Shrubs, Pruning · Keywords: How Far, Can, Holly, Bush, Cut, Back, Pruned, Without, Killing, Damage · 2099 Views
I recently acquired a property with 3 needlepoint holly bushes that have overtaken the shrub bed. They are at least 5 ft high. I would like to cut them back to about 2 ft so that we can paint the house. Would that kill the bushes?

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3 Answers

Answer #1 · Maple Tree's Answer · Hi Gail-The Needlepoint hollies normally respont well to heavy pruning when necessary. Light pruning to shape a holly can be done anytime. Hard pruning to reduce its size, as it sounds you would like to do, should be done in late winter early spring before new growth appears. Pruning in the Fall or Winter can expose the plant to potential winter damage. If you are in a climate with milder winters the chance of winter damage of course would be less. If possible you may be able to prune just enough to clear the old paint brush, roller, or spayer, and then do a heavier pruning in late winter if you are looking to reduce its size. Of course pruning now will most likely hurt the berry production for the hollidays but i'm sure maintaining the home is more important at this time. Pruning now if need be should not kill your holly but if heavy pruning is needed at this time I would not prune it back any further than half its size.

Hope this has helped.


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Answer #2 ·'s Answer · Needlepoint holly typically grow to about 10 feet or so in height. If your goal is to keep them pruned at a much lower height than this you might want to consider removing them and replanting with a lower growing shrub.

If the height of the holly are okay, but you only need to prune them to paint the house, you might try wrapping a rope(s) or heavy net around the shrubs and cinch them up to provide space for painting. Otherwise, as John mentioned, heavy pruning during the active growth season could cause serious damage or death to the plants.)

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Answer #3 · Gail Rose's Answer · Thank you so much!)

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