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How to Care for a Burford Holly Tree

Originating from Asia, the Burford holly tree (Ilex cornuta ‘Burfordii’) can reach a height of 10 to 25 feet and a spread of 15 to 25 feet at maturity. The tree has dense foliage and a rounded crown, with dark-green, shiny leaves and white flowers in the springtime. The Burford holly grows best in warmer climates, in USDA hardiness zones 7 through 9, where minimum winter temperatures don’t drop below 5 degrees Fahrenheit. Because of its evergreen leaves and medium- to slow-growth rate, you can grow several Burford hollies in a row to create a hedge or privacy screen, or you can grow the tree individually in its natural form for a showy tree specimen with drooping branches and large canopy.

Plant your Burford holly tree in full or partial sun and in well-draining soil. You can mix into the soil some organic compost and high-phosphorous, slow-release fertilizer at the time of planting.

Water your Burford holly tree deeply twice each month during the growing season to keep the soil moist and supplement rainfall during dry spells or droughts. The Burford holly is drought-resistant, but its growth will slow during dry times.

Feed your Burford holly tree once every year in the spring or fall with a slow-release 10-10-10 NPK (Nitrogen-Phosphorous-Potassium) fertilizer, according to the dosage instructions on the label.

Prune your holly tree in the spring when new growth begins to remove any dead, diseased, damaged or crowded growth. If you’re growing Burford hollies as a hedge, you can prune to shape them anytime of the year.

Spray your Burford holly tree with an appropriate insecticide during the growing season, if you notice yellowed spots on the leaves and a white, fuzzy growth on the leaves. These are signs of a scale infestation. Follow the directions on the insecticide label exactly.


The Burford holly tree can grow in a wide range of soil types and environmental conditions. This tree can tolerate flooding, drought and even high levels of air pollution.


Always wear gloves and eye protection when you’re spraying chemicals of any kind on your holly tree. Wash your hands immediately after applying the chemical.

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