How to Prune Nellie Stevens Holly


The Nellie R. Stevens holly is a cross between a Chinese holly and an English holly, according to the University of Arkansas, and it is grown as an ornamental tree or shrub. They grow well in warm climates, from USDA hardiness zones 6 to 9, and have very dense growth, making them perfect hedge plants. Nellie R. Stevens hollies reach heights of 30 feet with a spread up to 15 feet wide. Like other hollies, they do not require much pruning to keep it in shape.

Step 1

Remove any dead, damaged or diseased branches at the base of the Nellie R. Stevens holly.

Step 2

Cut back any over-reaching branches to the first healthy bud.

Step 3

Thin 10 to 15 percent of all the branches, cutting them back to the trunk.

Step 4

Remove branches at the base of the holly if you want to be able to walk under it. Cut the branches back to the trunk of the tree. If you are growing Nellie R. Stevens holly as a hedge, do no prune the bottommost branches.

Things You'll Need

  • Pruning shears


  • University of Arkansa: Plant of the Week Nellie R. Stevens Holly
  • University of Florida: Nellie R. Stevens Holly
  • Floridata: Nellie Stevens Holly
  • University of Missouri: Pruning Ornamental Shrubs
Keywords: pruning holly trees, pruning holly shrubs, pruning holly, prune holly

About this Author

Hollan Johnson is a freelance writer for many online publications including Garden Guides and eHow. She is also a contributing editor for Brighthub. She has been writing freelance since 2008 and her interests are travel, gardening, sewing, and Mac computers. Prior to freelance writing, Johnson taught English in Japan. Johnson has a Bachelor of Arts in linguistics from the University of Las Vegas, Nevada.