Everyone loves the holly bush's deep green foliage and bright berries. And these evergreen bushes are fairly easy to maintain. They do require the occasional trim as part of their regular maintenance, but the holly bush will never be a manicured landscape plant. Wild and unruly holly bushes should be trimmed, but a holly bush should never be shaved like a hedge. The best time to trim a holly bush is in winter when it is dormant. And if you trim in December, you can use the trimmings for holiday decorations.
Remove any dead, broken or brittle branches with sharp, clean pruning shears. Any branches with darker or lighter or otherwise damaged or diseased leaves should also be removed. When pruning a branch, cut it so that it is flush with the main branch, leaving as little stub as possible.
Clear the interior of the plant. By thinning out your holly bush you not only allow light and circulating air to enter the bush (which cuts down on mold growth), but you stimulate new growth. When clearing the interior, prune any branches that are touching, crossed or rubbing against one another. And don't be shy. Holly bushes actually benefit from thinning. Over the next few years, it will come back fuller than ever.
Shape your holly bush. Use pruning shears to prune exterior leaves and twigs until your holly has been cut back to the size that you have in mind (never use hedge trimmers on a holly bush). However, avoid shaping the holly too much. When pruning, follow the natural shape of the bush.
Clear any leaf debris from the base of the holly bush. The leaves may harbor disease, and as they decompose, they can lower the pH level of the soil.