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How to Prune Nellie Stevens Holly

By Hollan Johnson ; Updated September 21, 2017

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.


Things You Will Need

  • Pruning shears


  • 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.

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.