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Holly

 July 9, 2016

Question

I recently pruned a large Holly back from 10' to about 6'. There was a lot of deadwood inside but the outer portions have always looked very healthy. It's been about 10 days now and still no sign of new growth. I probably pruned later than I should have. Should I be concerned?

Answer

Be patient.  Plants typically don’t grow in leaps and bounds when it is hot and dry.  That is why we recommend doing severe pruning in late winter to early spring to catch the natural rebound of new growth.  For now, water, water, water and wait for the growth to come back


 

July 2, 2016

Question

I recently reduced two 10' tall bushes down to about 6'. One is a yaupon holly and the other predominantly privet. I know it might have been better done 2 months ago but tell me if you think I'm still ok having done my trim before the technical beginning of summer. Both bushes were very healthy. I essentially took them both down to their 2010 height. I have increased their water a bit and applied osmocote liberally

Answer

I would hope the privet would die, but unfortunately that probably will not be the case. Privet is one of our most invasive plants in Arkansas and I would love to eradicate it.  Luckily for you, yaupons are pretty tough plants too.  Normally when we do severe pruning, we like to get it done in early spring to allow time for the plants to recover before hot, dry weather hits, which slows down new growth.  I would keep watering while it is dry to help them recover, but I think you should be ok.  One application of fertilizer is all you need—and I prefer to go on the light side, versus the heavy side, especially when it is as hot as it is.  


  

February 1, 2016

QuestionI would love to know about the trees that are currently full of red to orange berries and have no leaves. These are seen along the roadsides and in the woods. What is the name of the tree and can they be found in the local nurseries?


AnswerThe plants in question are deciduous hollies and they are commonly available at local nurseries. There are two species—Ilex decidua and Ilex verticillata.  Read the tag as to berry color—they have orange, red and even yellow berry types, as well as mature size.  They do come in either male or female varieties. Only the females produce berries.  


 

January 23, 2016

Question

How would you compare the growth rates of Nellie Stevens holly and a full-size yaupon holly, like Pride of Houston?  Would the yaupon have any chance of keeping up, or does it grow a lot more slowly?

     

Answer

They are both great plants for Arkansas landscapes.  The growth rate is similar, but the plants have some big differences.  The leaf size of the Nellie Stevens is probably three times that of a yaupon and the shrub is denser overall.  Side-by-side they would have a different texture and growth habit, with the Nellie Stevens being larger and a bit faster growing.


 

November 28, 2015

QuestionI had two trees removed from my back yard early last summer; a Bradford Pear (Fire Blight) and a Maple (Slime Flux?)  Now I'm looking for replacement trees. I really don't need shade as this is in the East yard, therefore, I would prefer something not to exceed 20 - 25 feet tall.  I'm leaning towards a holly but will consider other evergreens. The soil I'm dealing with is heavy orange clay.  In fact the Maple I removed had a lot of surface roots. Thank you for any suggestions? 

Answer

The maple would have probably had surface roots even in decent soil—that is the nature of maples.  I am assuming you want something evergreen.  Some options include:  Little Gem magnolia, Foster holly, Burford holly, deodara cedar, cherry laurel or one of the larger junipers.  If it doesn't have to be evergreen, I love the sweetbay magnolia or even one of the tulip magnolia trees, redbuds or dogwoods.


 

November 14, 2015

Question

I would like to plant privacy hedge/shrubs that will screen the property next door.  I read your response recently about thorny eleagnus but I will need these shrubs to reach a height of 15-25 ft. and get thick.  I don’t think the thorny eleagnus will reach the height I desire.  Do you have any advice on what I should plant?  The area gets about 6-8 hours of sun.  Is a willow hybrid or non-spreading bamboo a consideration?.

 

AnswerA hybrid willow is fast growing but probably will get too tall and be somewhat weak. It also is deciduous and most people prefer a screen to be evergreen.  If you can find the clumping—non-spreading bamboo, that is an option, but I think there are better choices.  You could go with one of the smaller growing southern magnolias—Little Gem,  Brackens Brown Beauty, etc.  They will eventually get that tall, and they are dense, but they may be slower growing than you want.  Consider some of the hollies—lusterleaf holly, Nellie Stevens and Burford holly will all grow at least 15-20 feet tall and are evergreen. Cryptomeria, Deodara cedar and Green Giant Arborvitae are other choices. 


 

 

August 2012

QuestionI have two Compacta holly bushes on each side of the steps leading up to our front door. They have been there for 14 years, so they are well established as are the shrubs around them. They are almost square at about 3'x3'x3' Over the last 2-3 years they have become sparse of leaves at the bottom and sides. Is there anything I can do to restore them? I know it will be difficult to replace them.

 

AnswerWhen evergreens are pruned into hedges, whether they are tall or short, the top of the plant should have a slightly narrower profile than the bottom. If the top is the same size or larger, it shades out the base of the plants and they begin to lose leaves. In late February to mid March next spring, cut them back hard—possibly to 1 ½ - 2 feet and lightly fertilize. They should get the burst of new growth and fill back in, hopefully having foliage throughout the plant. Instead of pruning them into future squares, let them have a more natural shape, but keep the tops narrower.


March 2012

QuestionWe are searching for replacement evergreen trees where dead Leyland Cypress had been removed from our backyard. They had been a screen between our house and a neighbor. We would like to have something that won't get over 10 to 12 feet in height, that will remain green year-round and that will allow flowering plants between them and the front of the bed and still provide the screen against the chain link fence between houses. The bed is approximately 25 - 30 feet in length and 8 - 15 feet wide. The trees will face the South (our house faces East) so will get at least 6 hours of full sun daily. We would appreciate your suggestions for that space. We have seen so many evergreens labeled "emerald green arborvitae" but according to the information can grow as high as 60 feet and 6 - 8 feet wide. Can those that are said to grow so tall be trimmed back in height as they grow? Thank you for any information to assist us in making our decision.

 

AnswerIf all you want is a plant that gets 10-12 feet tall, then choose a plant that has that as its maximum height. Especially if you plant something like the green giant arborvitae that can reach 60 feet tall, you will have to constantly prune, which makes a large hedge a constant work in progress. Some better choices include the Nelly R Stevens holly, cleyera, winter honeysuckle, or even one of the loropetalum varieties. Some varieties grow taller than 12 feet, others much shorter.


March 2012

QuestionWe have just built a new pool and it turned out much higher than expected so we need privacy OVER the 6 ft fence as we are almost looking over the fence into neighbors yard. We have a very small yard and were thinking we would almost have complete back full with pool and patio and plants. There is 53 inches between fence and concrete around pool on one side and 36 inches on other side. Rest is connected to house and porch. I would like to know what you would suggest to fill this space in that will grow up over the fence for privacy. We were thinking about Bamboo and someone suggested oleander. We would be open to other suggestions also if you have any thoughts.

 

AnswerDefinitely not running bamboo-or your neighbors won’t be your friends any more. I would assume you want tall plants, and if you have tall bamboo, it can run as far away from the base as it is tall—20 foot tall bamboo can send up suckers 20 feet away. Clumping bamboo would be an option, but your space is quite narrow. Since your space is limited, you want tall vertical plants. Oleander is an option if you live in central or southern Arkansas, but it would not be reliable further north. The downside with oleander is the blooms will drop in the summer, which will be quite close to your pool and it is not fast growing in Arkansas and it does spread fairly wide. What about a holly such as Nelly R. Stevens, Foster, Savannah or Lusterleaf holly. Another option would be to build a trellis and let a vine grow up it to give instant privacy, and not take up an abundance of space.


March 2012

QuestionMy home in Colony West faces west and the front beds are empty now that all of the original azaleas have passed away. They were planted in 1970 and extended along the 60 foot front of the bed. There are four large Pine trees directly centered in the front and one very large Pine tree at the southern most part of the front of the house. At the north end of the house is a rather large Holly bush (tree), perhaps standing 10 feet tall. Originally, Holly was placed at each end of the front bed to anchor the beds and the Azaleas residing along the length of the bed. I need your recommendation on a plant/tree/shrub selection and your ideas regarding planting, soil addition, etc. I need something hardy that will last. Also, do you think the plants/shrubs/trees sold by the big box stores like are very safe? I think a local nursery would be safer in the long run regarding the viability and health issues of native plants, etc.

 

AnswerYou do need a basic grouping of evergreen plants so that you have something that is green year-round, but adding some deciduous plants can give you great color in the summer. While your yard faces west, it sounds like the pine trees shade it from intense sun. If you like azaleas, by all means replace some. There are numerous plants that you can choose from and diversity is good. I like to have something blooming in every season. Possibly sasanqua camellias for winter, azaleas and loropetalums for spring color and Itea and buddleia for summer blooms. Take pictures of your front yard and do a sketch of your yard on graph paper. Take that to your local nursery and they can help you plan how many plants you need and can give you other options. You don’t have to buy everything from a nursery, but if there are specific plants or varieties you want, independent nurseries usually have better selections.


October 2011

QuestionI would like to plant a winterberry holly. Because I don't see them in the Little Rock area often, I wonder if they do well here. I am particularly interested in a dwarf variety called Red Sprite with Jim Dandy as the pollinator.

 

AnswerOutstanding choices! The winterberry holly (Ilex verticillata) is one of our deciduous hollies – the other is Ilex decidua. They do very well in Arkansas. You can see the native ones up and down the roadways each winter, with their clusters of red or orange berries. They do sell deciduous hollies at most nurseries, but they often get overlooked until they shed their leaves and expose their berries.      


January 2012

QuestionWinter Color 2012

 

AnswerSo far this winter has been an improvement over last year, with weather almost too mild at times. But our winter is far from over, so keep your fingers crossed. Typically when we think of garden color, we think spring and summer, but there are a number of plants that can add winter interest and color. From true flowering plants to colorful bark, leaves and berries, there are options for all gardens. Take inventory of your own garden, and if you need color, consider some new additions. Shrubs are the backbone of the landscape. While we do want evergreen shrubs to be the foundation of the landscape, deciduous plants can also add seasonality and rhythm to a garden. While green is of course a color, there are variegated plants and some that take on their own winter hue. Nandinas can be a nice green addition to the garden during the growing season, but they really shine in the winter landscape with red or burgundy foliage. Standard plants also have a nice berry display. Some folks dislike nandinas since they can spread by seed into wild areas, but they are a versatile plant, and usually pretty tough. Many female hollies are loaded with berries this year, and the fruit is a nice addition to color. The deciduous hollies are really showing off with berries on full display without being masked by foliage. But there are some plants that actually bloom in the cooler months. There are several species of camellias that are common throughout central and southern Arkansas, and with hardier introductions, now being planted even in the northern tier of the state. Camellia sasanquas are in full bloom now, and some of the Camellia japonica’s are beginning to bloom. There are other hybrids available as well. These plants do best in full morning sun, and afternoon shade. They like acidic soil conditions and even moisture in the summer—not tolerating heavy, wet soils very well. Flower colors run from pinks to reds and whites, with some bi-colors as well. There are several species of mahonia that shine in the shade garden. Oregon Grape Holly is a common name, but these plants are setting flowers now, which will be open in a few weeks. The fragrant yellow blossoms will be followed by robin’s egg blue fruits. A new introduction is the Soft Caress mahonia, which looks almost like a small palm plant. Winter jasmine (Jasminum nudiflorum) is already blooming in many parts of the state. Often mistaken for forsythia, which won’t be in bloom for a month or so, winter jasmine is a low growing plant with cascading branches covered in bright yellow flowers. Even though it does lose most of its leaves in the fall, the branches stay green. It has started blooming a bit earlier than normal this year. Some less known shrubs for winter interest include wintersweet and winterhazel. Both of these shrubs bloom in the winter and are highly fragrant. Winter sweet, Chimonanthus praecox is related to our common sweet shrub (calycanthus) and has smaller, fragrant flowers and is the first to bloom in January. By February, the winterhazel, Corylopsis platypetala is blooming. This plant is in the witchhazel family and while it has small flowers they cascade together in a small cluster. Both plants will grow in partial shade, and while not too exciting the rest of the season, can give you great fragrance and interest in the winter garden. Another fragrant winter shrub is winter honeysuckle. Its tiny white flowers may not stop traffic, but it can add fragrance to your home and garden.        


November 2011

QuestionWe need some suggestions or ideas for an evergreen barrier that will get to 3-4 ft tall in pm sun on the south and west side of our yard. We want to run this about 100 ft long. Water is no problem. Types and spacing ideas would be greatly appreciated.

 

AnswerThere are a wide range of plants that stay in the 3-4 foot range including compacta hollies, loropetalum—both green leafed and purple leafed (check variety height), Indian hawthorne, boxwoods and even nandinas. All will take full sun. For a denser hedge, stagger the planting in a zigzag pattern instead of in a straight row.


November 2011

QuestionCan you identify the plant in this picture? I've seen many of them around. They are usually in fence rows, or under utility lines. "Planted" by birds, I imagine. Is it some kind of holly? It does lose its leaves, (but you can tell from the picture that they are still on it now) and just the red berries remain through most of the winter months. It's really pretty with snow on it. This particular shrub is in our backyard and I would like to buy some more.

 

AnswerThe plant in question is a deciduous holly. There are actually several different species—with the two most common in our area being Ilex decidua (commonly called Possumhaw) and Ilex verticillata (commonly called Winterberry). Improved cultivars of I.decidua include ‘Byers Golden’ with yellow fruit, ‘Council Fire’ with orange fruit and ‘Warren’s Red’ with red fruit. Improved cultivars of I. verticillata include ‘Red Sprite’, ‘Winter Gold’ and ‘Winter Red’. The plants are very carefree and really brighten up a winter landscape.


April 2010

QuestionI have a holly specimen that has three points on the end of the leaves and a cluster of white flowers along the stems but no berries and it never gets any berries. I suppose that is because of a lack of male plants around!

 

AnswerOr could your plant be a male? Look closely at the flowers. Do they have yellow stamens or simply a green ovary in the center? There are usually plenty of hollies—both male and female in the neighborhood, that it is isn't always required to have a male in your yard to get berries on your female holly. If your plant is male, then you will never see berries.


May 2010

QuestionWhat shrub would you recommend as a hedge in the Cammack Village area? I'd like to create a living screen to hide a shed & work area in the backyard. The shed sits at the back of the property which is fairly narrow & deep like a rectangle. What vine would you recommend to use for a small arbor which located just out the back door of the house on the same property?

 

AnswerIs the area shaded where the hedge will be planted? If so here are some good choices: wax myrtle, illicium (Florida anise), cherry laurel and Sweet bay magnolia--this last one is not evergreen. In sunny conditions you can use Little Gem magnolia, one of the hollies- Foster, Yaupon, Lusterleaf, Nelly R. Stevens; or eleagnus. For the vine, you could use a mix: trumpet honeysuckle, clematis, akebia and some annual vines: moon flower morning-glory, cypress vine and hyacinth bean.


February 2010

QuestionWe would like to screen our yard from residents of a motel next door to us. We need the fastest solution but will have to weigh the cost factor when making a decision. I’ve read that Blue Spruce grows well in Arkansas and has a good conical shape when planted as a screen, but it is slow growing and doesn't transplant so well when more mature. Do you have suggestions for us?

 

AnswerColorado blue spruce is ok in the most northern tier of Arkansas, but even there can struggle with the heat and humidity of our summers. It is relatively slow growing and I would not think inexpensive. For fast growth, and a mature large plant, consider: Thuja plicata ‘Green Giant’ - arborvitae or Prunus caroliniana ‘Bright ‘N Tight – Cherry laurel. Another tall growing albeit slightly slower growing evergreen is the Japanese cedar Cryptomeria japonica ‘Yoshino’ or ‘Ben Franklin’ are two large cultivars. Then there are several hollies which make nice screens: Ilex cornuta ‘Burfordii’ – Burford holly, I. x attenuate ‘Fosteri’, ‘East Palatka’ or ‘Savannah’ and Ilex x ‘Nellie R. Stevens’. Depending on space, you could also grow the southern magnolia- Magnolia grandiflora. The standard variety gets massive, both in height and width but there are several slower growing smaller cultivars including ‘Bracken’s Brown Beauty’ and ‘Little Gem’.


June 2008

QuestionWhat is the best time to prune holly bushes? (Prune fairly hard, not just a haircut.)

 

AnswerHollies can be lightly shaped in any season, but for severe pruning –more than one third, I would suggest pruning in late February through mid April to take advantage of the burst of spring growth so they can fill in more evenly and faster.


June 2009

QuestionWe have a very unique, 25 years or so old yaupon holly (trimmed and shaped many times) on a terrace with a row of azaleas. The yaupon has "gone ape" among the azaleas, sending out seedlings or sprouts at the soil line which are outgrowing the azaleas. If we can protect the azaleas, can we use Roundup (or your choice) to try to kill them out without affecting the tree? Would painting full-strength Roundup do any good where we cannot spray the foliage and cut back to the ground? We hope to not lose the tree -a conversation piece.

 

AnswerI think your best bet, while not the easiest, is to dig up the sprouts and/or seedlings. If you knew for sure they were coming up from seeds, then a herbicide might work, however they could be root suckers which are attached to the mother tree and could damage it as well. Make a cut beneath the soil line where the plants are coming from the ground line up, mulch and watch for reappearances. Since it is a standard yaupon, they can outgrow your azaleas quite easily.


April 2010

QuestionI have a holly specimen that has three points on the end of the leaves and a cluster of white flowers along the stems but no berries and it never gets any berries. I suppose that is because of a lack of male plants around!

 

AnswerOr could your plant be a male? Look closely at the flowers. Do they have yellow stamens or simply a green ovary in the center? There are usually plenty of hollies—both male and female in the neighborhood, that it is isn't always required to have a male in your yard to get berries on your female holly. If your plant is male, then you will never see berries.


April 2010

QuestionAre there shrubs (besides azalea, rhododendron, and camellia)that will grow well under pine trees?

 

AnswerPines tend to have a high enough canopy that most shade and partial shade tolerant shrubs do well. Cleyera, aucuba, fatsia, hollies and boxwoods are all possible choices, but there are numerous others. Soil acidity can be a long-term concern under pines, but most of these plants are pretty tolerant.


July 2010

QuestionOur beautiful Chinese Photinia (30 ft. tall, crown 25 ft. in diam.) has died in spite of our efforts to save it with fungicide. It was not only a focal point, but the screen between our windows and our neighbors. We need to replace it with an evergreen shrub or tree that will eventually fill that space as gracefully. Any suggestions?

 

AnswerThere are several possibilities. Cryptomeria plants grow quite large at maturity but can be slow to get started. A common name is Japanese cedar. There are numerous cultivars and size varies based on which you choose. Another possibility is one of the hollies--lusterleaf holly (Ilex latifolia) is fast growing and I think fairly graceful in central and south Arkansas. Nellie R. Stevens holly is fairly fast growing but will not get near as tall as your photenia. As far as graceful, I would look at a deodara cedar. Some cultivars will grow way taller, but others can fit your size.      


April 2010

QuestionI have a holly specimen that has three points on the end of the leaves and a cluster of white flowers along the stems but no berries and it never gets any berries. I suppose that is because of a lack of male plants around!

 

AnswerOr could your plant be a male? Look closely at the flowers. Do they have yellow stamens or simply a green ovary in the center? There are usually plenty of hollies—both male and female in the neighborhood, that it is isn't always required to have a male in your yard to get berries on your female holly. If your plant is male, then you will never see berries.


April 2010

QuestionAre there shrubs (besides azalea, rhododendron, and camellia) that will grow well under pine trees?

 

AnswerPines tend to have a high enough canopy that most shade and partial shade tolerant shrubs do well. Cleyera, aucuba, fatsia, hollies and boxwoods are all possible choices, but there are numerous others. Soil acidity can be a long-term concern under pines, but most of these plants are pretty tolerant.


November 2009

QuestionI am interested in planting a privacy hedge between me and an untidy neighbor. Would you compare Russian Olive versus Nellie Stephens Holly that you have recommended in the past. Where can I see a Nellie Stephens Hedge and also purchase it?

 

AnswerRussian olive is much more wild and wooly than Nellie R. Stephens Holly. Russian olive (Elaeagnus angustifolia) is a form of eleagnus, but it is often considered an invasive plant in most states other than in the south, where it can struggle to grow well. A better form of Elaeagnus would be Elaeagnus pungens, which has broad evergreen foliage. It has some wild days where it throws up tall shoots that need management, but it makes a nice hedge. In either instance the holly would be much more manicured and well behaved. Most nurseries in Arkansas should have the holly.      


February 2009

QuestionLast summer I sprayed water on a foster holly in full sun. About a third of the leaves turned brown and fell off. It is now about 3 feet tall. About two thirds of the holly has healthy green foliage. The other third of the holly has bare branches. Should I just leave it alone and let it grow, or should I prune the bare branches? Will it ever develop a pretty shape or should I consider replacing it?

 

AnswerWater alone did not cause the plant to drop leaves. Was there some chemical in the water, or fertilizer? If water alone could do that, every time it rains we would have problems. I would wait until right before new growth begins--later this month or early next month, and prune out the dead wood. You can selectively prune some of the nearby living branches at a bud that could direct new growth where you need it.


July 2006

QuestionWe have a six foot Needlepoint Holly planted last fall by a landscape company. It has lots of berries but no new growth this spring. The leaves that it has are at the tips and not near the trunk. Can fertilizing it bring out new growth near the trunk? Or, should we insist that it be replaced?

 

AnswerSometimes a holly will set copious amounts of fruit, and when it does, it directs all of its energy into the berries, and not into new growth. It is also its first year of growth, so it should be getting acclimated and setting out roots. I never judge a plant in its first full season in the ground. Also, be aware that the buds at the tip of the branches are dominant, so that is where you will see new foliage. If the end buds are cut off in the spring, it should direct energy into the buds further along the stems which should encourage new growth within the interior of the bush. A light shearing now of the tips could encourage more sprouting within the interior of the bush, but we are in the beginning of the hottest and driest days of the season, so new growth may be at a minimum. At this stage in the growing season, I am not so certain I would do much pruning. Keep it watered for now, and do some corrective pruning next spring.


May 2006

QuestionSeveral years ago we installed an 8 foot privacy fence across our back yard since a church parking lot backs up to our property. The church building itself rises up behind the parking lot and church goers can look down into our backyard. Additionally, we planted several yaupon hollies in front of the fence to allow their top bulk to extend above the fence to further block the view from the church. The yaupons are approx. 2 feet from the 8-foot fence. At the present time, the top of the hollies have grown approx. 2-4 feet above the top of the 8-foot fence so that the limbs are naturally growing out toward and against the fence...My instincts tell me to trim the lower half to two-thirds of the lower limbs in order to allow the trees to put all their energy in growing upward and outward above the top of the 8-foot fence. Could you give me some instructions on trimming the limbs? What time of year should we do this? Bottom line, we want the trees to grow to their maximum height above the 8-foot fence and further block out the view of the church.

 

AnswerIf you aren't concerned with the lower limbs, you can cut them off at anytime. Many folks have tree-formed yaupon hollies. They will re-sprout often on the lower limbs, but you can direct more energy upwards by trimming. You can trim at any season, but for maximum growth, try to get the trimming done in the spring to allow for that burst of energy. Do so now before mid June. Lightly fertilize with a slow release high nitrogen fertilizer and keep them watered, and they should do well.


April 2006

QuestionI have several large overgrown hollies and boxwoods in my yard. I know I was supposed to prune them in February, but time slipped away and they didn’t get done. Have I waited too late? I need to cut them back by at least one third, but I don’t want to look at dead looking twigs all summer either. What is my best bet?

 

AnswerThere is still plenty of time. Severe pruning - taking off more than one third, can be done any time from late February through April. You can even get by with pruning into June, but by mid to late June, temperatures start rising and rainfall usually decreases, thus we see less new growth. Pruning while we are still at the peak of the growing season allows the plants to have a quicker recovery rate. Boxwoods in particular often look pretty barren following even light pruning, since they have all of their leaves on the outside of the bush. Water when dry and one light application of fertilizer should help in recovery.


March 2005

QuestionI need your help. We have cut down most of our red-tips because of the fungus. I have fought it for so long and now it has spread to all of them and we had so many. Now we want to replace them and we don't know what to put there. We would like something that grows well with no disease problems. I thought you might have some suggestions.

 

AnswerRedtop photenias have really been hit hard by the leaf spot fungus and are dying across the south. You are wise to stop fighting it, and replace. There are numerous options. You can use Nelly R. Stephens holly, Foster Holly, Elaeagnus, Green Giant Arborvitae, winter honeysuckle, and cherry laurel, just to name a few. Visit with your local nursery and look at the plants, and see which ones you like best.


December 2005

QuestionWe are building a new home and the backyard is surrounded by other homes. We want to plant some trees for privacy. We are considering Leyland cypress. A friend told me they read in your column that you recommended another tree because lelands get lots of disease. Here are some of our considerations: we want the tree to be- fast growing, easy to care for, an evergreen, and not very expensive because we need lots of them!

 

AnswerWhat we are talking about is a screening or hedge plant. They can be considered large shrubs or small trees. Leyland cypress has suffered from disease in Arkansas. Some other choices include cherry laurel, Green Giant Arborvitae, Nellie R. Stevens Holly and Lusterleaf Holly. These should be readily available in the state. As to prices, shop and compare. Size of plants can make a big difference. If you have the time, allow them to grow into their space.


December 2005

QuestionI have a three gallon needle point holly bought in 2004 in which the leaves have fallen off of it. It is planted in a sunny location and I am using Miracle Gro plant food to water it. I am watering it about twice a week but there are still no leaves on it? I have also applied mulch around it. The holly was planted by a commercial nursery so there was good soil preparation. Do you have any suggestions? I also have two five gallon Nelly Stevens holly that had red berries when they were planted by a commercial nursery in March, 2004. There have been no red berries on it since. Do you have any suggestions?

 

AnswerNeedle point hollies are evergreen plants, so if all the leaves have fallen off, there is a major problem. Did you start the watering and fertilizing after the leaves fell off, or before? What is the drainage like in the hole where it is planted? Hollies usually are fairly resilient plants, so you need to find out what is happening before attempting any replacement. As for the Nelly Stevens hollies not having berries, keep in mind that these plants bloom in the spring and set the berries after bloom from cross pollination. The berries should be forming now, but will not turn red until closer to fall. It is not unusual to not get good berry set the year of planting, as they are getting established. This year, I would have hoped for some fruit. Check them more closely. Make sure they have ample sunlight--at least 6 hours, and that you are not pruning off the potential blooms and or fruit in the spring.


 

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