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    August 28, 2022
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A Linda K. Lillie has been President of Sprigs & Twigs, Inc. for the last 25 years. She is a graduate of Connecticut College in Botany, an accredited NOFA Organic Land Care Professional, a Connecticut Master Gardener and a national award winning landscape designer for her design and installation projects. CELEBRATING 26 YEARS! Welcome to My weekly series! ASK PROFESSIONAL Linda K. Lillie of Sprigs & Twigs I have a beautiful holly bush that has gotten away from me and grown to be ungainly and way too large. How can I prune it down to a more reasonable size and shape without putting it into shock or killing it? Margie Hi Margie, You can safely prune the holly by 1/3 without shocking it, both 1/3 of the height and 1/3 of the width. Use sharp hand pruners and loppers. Do not prune with hedge trimmers! Using hedge trimmers creates a plant that is very thick and tangled...a perfect place for insects and disease. This is important: Make sure you prune out any crossing branch- es (which there will be many). This will help make the holly look better and allow air circulation within the shrub. All the branches should be coming out straight from the main stem out to the branch tips. Remove any thin, hanging branches. Raise the bottom branches up off the ground by 6-8" to allow for air circulation within the plant. Do not be afraid to prune, this plant will grow back very well. By the time you are finished, it should not look like the holly you started out with. You should be able to see through it. If you can't see through it, prune some more. The best time to do this type of pruning is between May and August so new growth will fill in the plant. Once you do the above pruning, it should be easy to do touch up pruning at least once/year. Good Luck. Sprigs &Twigs best EMAIL OR MAIL YOUR QUESTIONS TO: info@sprigsandtwigs.net or Linda Lillie, Sprigs & Twigs Inc, PO Box 245, Gales Ferry, CT 06335 SPRIGS & TWIGS VOTED THE BEST BY DAY READERS EVERY YEAR! A Linda K. Lillie has been President of Sprigs & Twigs , Inc. for the last 25 years . She is a graduate of Connecticut College in Botany , an accredited NOFA Organic Land Care Professional , a Connecticut Master Gardener and a national award winning landscape designer for her design and installation projects . CELEBRATING 26 YEARS ! Welcome to My weekly series ! ASK PROFESSIONAL Linda K. Lillie of Sprigs & Twigs I have a beautiful holly bush that has gotten away from me and grown to be ungainly and way too large . How can I prune it down to a more reasonable size and shape without putting it into shock or killing it ? Margie Hi Margie , You can safely prune the holly by 1/3 without shocking it , both 1/3 of the height and 1/3 of the width . Use sharp hand pruners and loppers . Do not prune with hedge trimmers ! Using hedge trimmers creates a plant that is very thick and tangled ... a perfect place for insects and disease . This is important : Make sure you prune out any crossing branch es ( which there will be many ) . This will help make the holly look better and allow air circulation within the shrub . All the branches should be coming out straight from the main stem out to the branch tips . Remove any thin , hanging branches . Raise the bottom branches up off the ground by 6-8 " to allow for air circulation within the plant . Do not be afraid to prune , this plant will grow back very well . By the time you are finished , it should not look like the holly you started out with . You should be able to see through it . If you can't see through it , prune some more . The best time to do this type of pruning is between May and August so new growth will fill in the plant . Once you do the above pruning , it should be easy to do touch up pruning at least once / year . Good Luck . Sprigs & Twigs best EMAIL OR MAIL YOUR QUESTIONS TO : info@sprigsandtwigs.net or Linda Lillie , Sprigs & Twigs Inc , PO Box 245 , Gales Ferry , CT 06335 SPRIGS & TWIGS VOTED THE BEST BY DAY READERS EVERY YEAR !