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How to Plant Nellie Stevens Holly

The Nellie Stevens holly is a low-maintenance, drought-tolerant evergreen tree that grows 12 to 25 feet tall. This fast-growing holly tree has shiny, dark-green leaves and red berries that emerge in fall and winter. Due to their evergreen, dense foliage, Nellie Stevens hollies are excellent for creating a tall hedge or privacy screen. You can also plant them individually in your landscape. Nellie Stevens holly trees grow best in USDA Hardiness Zones 6 through 9, where winter temperatures stay above -5 degrees Fahrenheit.

Select a planting site that receives full to partial sunlight. The Nellie Stevens holly can grow in any type of soil.

Dig a planting hole twice the width of and slightly shallower than the height of the root ball. Loosen the soil in the bottom and on the sides of the planting hole with your shovel.

Loosen and untangle the roots of the Nellie Stevens holly tree so they dangle downward. Set the roots into the planting hole, ensuring that the top of the root ball is about 1 inch above ground level.

Backfill the planting hole with the displaced soil about one-third of the way, then water the soil thoroughly to remove any air pockets from around the roots. Repeat this process until the planting hole is filled.

Water the Nellie Stevens holly again to soak the soil to the depth of and around the entire root area. Spread a 3-inch-thick layer of bark mulch on the ground over the entire root zone around the tree, but keeping the mulch about 1 or 2 inches away from the trunk.


If you’re creating a hedge or privacy screen with several Nellie Stevens hollies, plant the trees in a row spaced 5 to 6 feet apart.


Avoid planting your Nellie Stevens holly tree where there are low-hanging power lines or other overhead structures, because the tree can reach 25 feet in height.

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