How to Prune a Japanese Holly Hedge


Japanese Holly is a common, beautiful evergreen broad leafed shrub that can often be shaped in to a hedge. Japanese holly are fairly easy to care for, including easy to prune. The best way to prune your holly will depend on its age and whether you are trying to limit the shrubs' size or are simply to guide the plant's shape as it grows. For shaping, simple pinching off of growth will work. However, to limit the size of the hedge, you might need to use shears or hedge trimmers.

Step 1

Pinch off new growth in areas where you would like to limit growth. This will help you constrain the shape of the hedge. Pinching off also works well for limiting the size of very small Japanese holly shrubs. Japanese holly can be pruned or pinched off at any time of year.

Step 2

Remove any deadwood before beginning to prune. Dead branches not only get in the way, they adversely affect the health of your Japanese holly.

Step 3

Carefully use shears or hedge trimmers to reduce the size of an overgrown Japanese holly. Trim an inch or 2, then step back to look at the resulting shape of of the pruning.

Step 4

Continue trimming in 1- or 2-inch increments until the hedge has reached the desired size and shape. Step back frequently to see the overall effect of the pruning on the hedge.

Tips and Warnings

  • Heavy pruning can have negative effects on flowering in some hedges. If you are working to reduce a severely overgrown hedge, consider doing it in several trims over a period of months.

Things You'll Need

  • New or established Japanese holly hedge
  • Hedge shears or trimmer


  • Puzzled About Pruning?
  • Pruning made easy: a gardener's visual guide to when and how to prune
  • Convexa Japanese Holly
Keywords: hedge care, hedge pruning, Japanese holly

About this Author

Although he grew up in Latin America, Mr. Ma is a writer based in Denver. He has been writing since 1987 and has written for NPR, AP, Boeing, Ford New Holland, Microsoft, RAHCO International, Umax Data Systems and other manufacturers in Taiwan. He studied creative writing at Mankato State University in Minnesota. He speaks fluent Mandarin Chinese, English and reads Spanish.