When is the best time to prune holly?
The best time to prune holly is in late winter or early spring before the birds start to build nests, when the plant is still dormant. Pruning at this time will help to ensure that new growth will be healthy and vigorous. It’s also a good idea to prune holly after it has finished flowering to avoid removing the flower buds for the next year.
Pruning holly in the winter, or late dormant season, has several advantages:
- Easier to identify structure: Without leaves, it is easier to see the overall structure of the holly and make pruning decisions based on the plant’s natural shape.
- Less stress on the plant: Pruning during the dormant season reduces stress on the plant as it is not actively growing and does not have to devote energy to healing cuts.
- Reduced risk of disease: Pruning during the dormant season reduces the risk of disease and pests, as many are not active during this time.
- Reduced risk of frost damage: Pruning holly in late winter or early spring, before new growth begins, reduces the risk of frost damage to new growth.
- Better appearance: Pruning in late winter or early spring can help maintain the desired shape of the holly, and gives it a better appearance when it leafs out in spring and summer
It’s important to note that late winter or early spring pruning will not affect the holly’s ability to produce fruit, since the flowers that produce berries are produced on the previous year’s growth.
Its also worth feeding holly with a general feed after pruning with a feed high in potash to help with the production of the berries later in the year on female plants.