How to Prune Hollyleaf Cherry


Hollyleaf cherry is a tree native to the United States that grows naturally along the California coast all the way down into Mexico. It is called hollyleaf cherry because the leaves look like shiny and pointy holly leaves. Hollyleaf cherry is hardy in zones 6 to 10, and it produces edible fruit. Maintenance for this tree is carefree, and pruning hollyleaf cherry is just as simple as growing it.

Step 1

Prune your hollyleaf cherry tree lightly every summer after it has finished flowering. This will give it a chance to fill out for the fall. If you prune in the fall, it may hamper your tree's ability to survive the winter.

Step 2

Remove all the dead, damaged or diseased branches from your hollyleaf cherry. This will improve the look and health of your tree.

Step 3

Remove any crowding and over-reaching branches. A branch is over-reaching if it is longer than the rest of the tree's branches and is in danger of breaking off. Do not remove more than 20 percent of your hollyleaf cherry's growth at one time.

Step 4

Decide whether your hollyleaf cherry will be a tree or a hedge before it is 3 years old, and prune accordingly. If you want your hollyleafed cherry to remain a tree, trim off the lower 3 or 4 feet of branches. For a hedge, top off the tree, and trim it into the shape you want.

Step 5

Brush all the pruning cuts with sealant to prevent pests and infection from overtaking your hollyleaf cherry.

Tips and Warnings

  • Shear back your hollyleaf cherry sparingly, every three or four years at most. This means cutting off the top layer of foliage to allow the layers underneath to grow back thicker. According to Yerba Buena Nursery, you should clean your pruning shears with either alcohol or bleach after you cut off a dead or diseased branch. This will prevent the spread an infection to healthy branches in the tree.

Things You'll Need

  • Pruning shears
  • Pruning sealant


  • Hollyleaf Cherry
  • Basic Pruning & Deadheading Techniques
  • Holly-Leaved Cherry

Who Can Help

  • Hollyleaf Cherry
Keywords: pruning hollyleaf cherry, prune hollyleaf cherry, pruning cherries

About this Author

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