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The Best Time to Prune Holly Bushes

By Zoobia Ilyas ; Updated July 21, 2017
Easily recognizable, holly bushes are known for their pointy leaves and red berries.
holly bush image by Sunshine Photos from Fotolia.com

Although they are often associated with the Christmas season, holly bushes add beauty to any landscape all year round. Whether pruning holly into hedges or to maintain their shrub-like shape, knowing how to prune your holly will make all the difference.


Although several species of holly exist, most should be pruned in December, when bushes are dormant. Americanforests.org indicates that pruning during harsh winter conditions will cause purple spots to develop on leaves. Pruning during summer or soon after flowering will result in loss of berry production.


Prune holly bushes by removing dead, diseased or excess growth. Begin from the inside branches and prune toward the outside branches. Cut just above younger buds or along the central branch.


Properly pruning holly bushes encourages new growth by providing space for an abundance of thick foliage in the coming year. Prune to enhance shape and create a neat, clean appearance. Shape holly bushes into hedges that provide shade and privacy.


About the Author


Zoobia Ilyas began writing professionally in 2010. Her work has appeared online for Sangam Literary Magazine, The Cynic Magazine, wiseGEEK and Gallery Femme. She writes fiction, memoir, nonfiction and social commentary essays specializing in women's issues in popular culture. Ilyas holds an honors Bachelor of Arts in English from the University of Toronto.