Learn which plants thrive in your Hardiness Zone with our new interactive map!

How to Prune Japanese Holly

By Hollan Johnson ; Updated September 21, 2017

Japanese holly, a evergreen shrub with thick dark green foliage, is often pruned into a hedge when planted in a row. The Japanese holly is hardy through USDA zones 6 to 9,and it can grow to about 10 feet in height with a spread of 8 feet. While they are slow-growing, Japanese holly do have to be pruned lightly to be kept in the shape you want them.

Remove any dead, damaged or diseased wood from the Japanese holly plant. Cut the foliage off at the base of the plant.

Trim off any branches that are crossing or rubbing against each other at the base of the Japanese holly.

Prune back any over reaching foliage to keep the shrub or hedge looking neat. Cut all the foliage of this nature back to the base of the Japanese holly.


Things You Will Need

  • Pruning shears


  • Prune Japanese holly in the late winter, according to the University of North Carolina.
  • Japanese holly can also be sheared into shape instead of pruned.

About the 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.