Help managing my Holly tree


Old 04-29-17, 10:57 AM
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Help managing my Holly tree

Hello all!

Please take a look at my holly tree at the following two links:
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I've not been very diligent with trimming this tree/bush (mostly because I don't have the equipment to get this high). What would you recommend I do at this point? Trim this all the way back to the trunk and start over (is that even an option?)? Rip it out and plant something else? Trim the top back a few feet?

My goal is to have this tree/bush manageable with the equipment I have now, which is a standard hedge trimmer.


Thank you!!!

Last edited by PJmax; 04-29-17 at 12:48 PM. Reason: added pics from link
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Old 04-29-17, 11:29 AM
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As is often the case, it was planted too close to the house, not allowing for it's full grown size.

I would not top the tree (cutting the top back). Proper pruning might make it look a little neater, but nothing will get around the fact that it is too large a tree for where it was planted.

If it were me, I'd remove it or have it removed, and plant another tree farther from the house, or choose a variety that won't get as big.
Old 04-29-17, 03:50 PM
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I would top it hard. Holly are very resilient so I would prune it to what I want with little concern to how much top growth you remove. I would try to get it down to about gutter height of the adjoining part of the house. I would make it's shape informal (not bonsai) so you won't have to worry much about fussy pruning.

It's a bit late in TN for severe pruning but I'd get up on the roof and whack off 6-8' of the height. Then take a bit off the sides down lower or go along the side facing the house and open up a foot free space between the tree and the house. In total I would not remove more than 25%. Then in late winter I'd give it whatever hard pruning is needed to get the shape you want. When done I'd end up with a tree that's half it's current size.

This heavy pruning will be a strain on the tree which is why timing is somewhat important. You must also be prepared for the remote possibility that the tree doesn't survive. I'd say it's no big loss if the tree doesn't survive which is why I wouldn't be timid with your pruning to get it into shape.
Old 05-01-17, 06:27 AM
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Holly Tree

Remove the tree. It is too close to the house and too close to the sidewalk.
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