Pruning Bare Branches on Holly Bushes
By: Julie Day
I recently planted a pyramidal-shaped holly bush, and the lower branches are pretty bare. Can I prune them to encourage new growth? -Judith
Holly bushes can lose leaves for a number of reasons, from diseases to environmental factors such as light, water, and temperature. Some of the most common causes include:
- Overcrowding: If the lower branches were bare when you bought it, they may have simply been too crowded at the garden center and those branches didn’t get enough sun. Or, if hedgerows are planted too close together, the upper branches can block sunlight from the lower branches. Bare branches can also happen when bushes and hedges are over-sheared, which causes thick growth at the edges that blocks light and air from the interior of the plant.
How to Prune Holly Branches
If your plant is otherwise healthy, or if you’ve successfully treated any pest or disease problems, follow these tips to give your holly a strategic pruning that will encourage the bottom branches to fill out:
- Dispose of Prunings: If you suspect a disease or pest problem, bag and discard all the trimmings, and rake up any fallen leaves underneath the plant, to prevent its spread.
- How to Grow Holly (article)
- Basic Shrub Pruning Techniques (article)
- How to Prevent Holly Leaf Spot (article)
- Brighten Up Your Winter Garden with Berries (article)