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Keyword Search Results for:
Holly

10 Found

Question: 109-5201
We have some holly trees that bloom in the back of the house. The holly in the front of the house doesnąt bloom. It is over 10 years old and hasnąt produced berries. We constantly trim it back to two to three feet. What can I do to make it bloom? Maggie, Middletown, RI

Mort's Answer:
You can hardly expect a bloom, if you continue to prune it so severely. You are defeating your purpose by keeping it at three feet. You need a flower to produce a berry. If it is a male, it will produce pollen for the females at the back of the house. There must be another male within 500 feet for the females to produce flower and berries. If you can not let the emasculated plant grow in the front of the house, move it to another location. In the new location it can produce the flowers in the spring that bring forth the fall berries on all the female plants, which may include itself.

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Question: 110-5201
We have holly near the garage in partial shade. Since we planted them three years ago the color has become more and more pale. I do not see any sign of insects. Any ideas? Patricia, Westerly, RI

Mort's Answer:
Leaching from the cement will change the PH from acidic to sweet. Since holly and other broadleaf evergreens require acidic soil around 5.5 or less, this condition will continue to deteriorate. Nitrate of soda will help counteract this leaching. I strongly suggest moving them to more favorable environment for the long haul.

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Question: 366-0105
My Holly is too high. Can I cut it back and when? Eva, Westbrook, CT

Mort's Answer:
You can cut it back any time. English ivy grow to 40 feet. There are dwarf varieties available that stay at four to five feet high. These dark green beauties can produce excellent berries on the female, if you have a male within 500 feet. Ilex aquifolium is darker than the American holly and quite vigorous. You can not keep it low forever. You might consider transplanting it or replacing it with a dwarf form.

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Question: 516-1716
I have a very small six inch holly plant that I got a Christmas time. Is it too early to plant it outdoors? I have hardened it off with daily sun baths. Carol, North Windham, CT

Mort's Answer:
I would suggest to plant it on the west side of the house for the next four years. This will provide protection from the north wind and the scalding sun from the south. It does best in partial shade. You could add some 5-10-5 fertilizer this fall to give it a boost. If it is a female, you need a male within 500 feet in the neighborhood to have berries. Some bushes are self pollinating. If you do not get berries within two years, get a female to cohabit your garden.

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Question: 843-4412
Is there a chemical that I can put on a holly to make it have berries? Den, Norwich, CT

Mort's Answer:
Growers use hormones (B9 and others) to stress plants. This causes them to produce more flowers. This phenomenon is common to most species to extend the generation of the species. Holly needs a male within 500 feet to pollinate the flowers. More flowers will not help produce berries if the plant is not pollinated. You can get a Q tip and get pollen from the earlier blooming males in your neighborhood and apply the Q tip gently to the inside of the female flower. If you plant blooms earlier, you have a male and you need a female to have the berries. There are a few specie that are self pollinating. Your plant is not one of them.

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Question: 896-913
The recent snow storm has broken a lot of my holly tree. What can I do to help it? Dick, Norwich, CT

Mort's Answer:
You are not alone. Wait until you have a good thaw and the plant begins to right itself. You can cut off branches down to the next good branch. Remove only the broken, not the ones that are just bent. The upside is that you may have nice pieces for a vase on your tables. If you have not fertilized in the last five years, add some high phosphorus granular fertilizer to the soil.

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Question: 1025-4013
My one acre is visited by dogs. I also want to block a view. Is there a plant that can do both, keep out the dogs and block a view to 12 feet? How about holly? Glynn, Eclectic, AL

Mort's Answer:
English holly is the dark green holly that is popular at Christmas. It has dark red berries and very sharp spines on its leaves. American holly is a lot lighter in color but has the same growth pattern. New plants should be trimmed the first few years to keep a wide base. Ilex aquifolium has many varieties including white margined and gold mottled. Blue Princess has a blue cast. They are many other hybrids that will be hardy and have great color though out the year and grow to 15 feet.

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Question: 1126-2014
My five foot high holly bush has withered and looks dead. Can I save it? It is a stand-alone on the lawn. Carol, Norwich, CT

Mort's Answer:
Cut off all dead wood down to the nearest green joint. At the old leaf drop, make a circle of six holes as deep as two feet. Fill those holes with 5-10-10 fertilizer. This will be completely unnecessary if the holly is all dried out. It is possible it may be green to a foot from the ground. This severe winter has caused a lot of broadleaf evergreens to perish. Unprotected from the winter winds with freeze dried roots, the plants were unable to get water to replace the moisture in them.

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Question: 1197-4614
My holly is doing great this year. Last year it was so so. Do they have off years? Carolyn, East Greenwich, RI

Mort's Answer:
Last year was an odd spring and a lot of plants did not get pollinated well. Most wasps and bees were absent because of the cool spring and early summer temps. Wind pollination can be sparse depending on location. I am sure that you will have a berry Merry Christmas this year.

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Question: 1209-4914
I have a five foot English holly. Can I prune it or move it now? Gail, Providence,RI

Mort's Answer:
I would root prune it this fall. This allows the small fibrous roots to grow. This is essential for a good transplant in the spring. It is not necessary to prune holly, which will grow to 15 feet in a cone shape. If you want to have berries at this time of year, you will need male and female. The male needs to be within 500 feet for pollination. Removing branches with the berries will not harm the bush or tree. When you move the holly in the spring choose a spot that will give it protection from the north wind.

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