Holly bushes are evergreens with dark-green, glossy leaves and vibrant red berries that contrast sharply with winter's drab colors. Although hollies are often at their best in the winter, they still require protection, which varies by region. Hollies particularly need protection when they are young and have not yet established an extensive root system. Winterizing a holly bush should begin in early to mid fall, before most inclement weather occurs.
Decrease watering by half in September to begin hardening off the holly, which helps it survive the winter. In October, resume a normal watering schedule until the first freeze.
Spray the tops and bottoms of all leaves on the holly bush with a antitranspirant spray, which is a wax that prevents moisture loss. You do not need to spray the bark, although it's fine if you do. Read the bottle instructions and reapply as directed throughout the winter, which is typically once per month or more often if heavy rain or snow occurs.
Wait until after the first freeze, then spread a 4- to 5-inch layer of mulch around the base of the holly bush to protect the roots. Extend the mulch out to the length of the branches. To prevent rot, do not let the mulch touch the main stem or trunk of the bush.
Insert a 4- to 5-foot wooden stake at one side of the holly bush, and hammer it into the ground using a mallet until the stake is 6 to 10 inches deep. Insert two more stakes around the bush at equal distances to form a triangle. If the bush is large, use four stakes. Wrap burlap around the stakes, securing it firmly to each with a staple gun.