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How to Prune Nellie Stevens Holly

The Nellie R. Stevens holly is a cross between a Chinese holly and an English holly, according to the University of Arkansas, and it is grown as an ornamental tree or shrub. They grow well in warm climates, from USDA hardiness zones 6 to 9, and have very dense growth, making them perfect hedge plants. Nellie R. Stevens hollies reach heights of 30 feet with a spread up to 15 feet wide. Like other hollies, they do not require much pruning to keep it in shape.

Remove any dead, damaged or diseased branches at the base of the Nellie R. Stevens holly.

Cut back any over-reaching branches to the first healthy bud.

Thin 10 to 15 percent of all the branches, cutting them back to the trunk.

Remove branches at the base of the holly if you want to be able to walk under it. Cut the branches back to the trunk of the tree. If you are growing Nellie R. Stevens holly as a hedge, do no prune the bottommost branches.

Care For Nellie Holly

Water holly regularly in spring and summer, providing about 1 inch of water every week when it doesn't rain. Holly is drought-tolerant and requires no supplemental watering during fall and winter. Spread 1 to 2 inches of compost under the plant every spring. Feed "Nellie R. Stevens" holly every fall. Trim the plant in winter and use the trimmings as holiday decorations. Otherwise, trim holly in spring to encourage the development of more berries. Drastic pruning is called for only to form the holly into hedges or topiary shapes.


Prune the Nellie R. Stevens holly in the early spring before the new growth appears.

Nellie R. Stevens hollies can be sheared back as well as pruned.

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