How to Prune Dwarf Burfordii Holly Shrubs


The dwarf Burfordii holly shrub (Ilex cornuta 'Burfordii Nana'), commonly called dwarf Burford, is a variety of Chinese holly that grows from 6 to 8 feet tall. Although the dwarf variety does not produce the quantity of berries the larger Burford does, it remains a popular ornamental planting for smaller spaces in the landscape. In many regions it is planted in groups to provide dense hedging. Chinese hollies generally do not require heavy pruning, and the dwarf Burford is no exception. It does, however, have the same sharp, serrated foliage as the larger variety, so wear gloves to protect your hands when pruning.

Step 1

Remove all lower branches to within 3 feet of the ground if you wish to train your dwarf Burford as a tree.

Step 2

Prune all dead and diseased branches back to their points of origin. Bag up the branches and dispose of them.

Step 3

Cut off any growth that is extending beyond the desired shape of the plant. You may need to stand back a few feet to see the stragglers. Use the shears to snip them back so that they extend the same distance from the dwarf Burford as the other branches.

Step 4

Rake the soil in the area around the base of the dwarf Burford holly to remove any leaves, twigs and other pruning debris. Bag them up and dispose of them.

Step 5

Water the dwarf Burford holly as you normally do.

Things You'll Need

  • Gloves
  • Pruning shears
  • Garbage bags


  • University of Arkansas: Burford Chinese Holly
  • Floridata: Ilex Cornuta 'Burfordii'
Keywords: prune Burford holly, prune Chinese holly, dwarf Burford holly

About this Author

Victoria Hunter has been a freelance writer since 2005, specializing in gardening-related topics and the real estate industry. She is a former broadcaster and real estate agent who has provided audio and written services to small businesses and large corporations worldwide. She writes for, GardenGuides and ProFlowers, among others. Hunter holds a Bachelor of Arts in English/creative writing.