TIPS FOR GROWING LUSH HOLLIES

Hollies are stunning evergreen plants that make a nice accent to any yard or garden. While a popular choice for landscapes, Hollies have been known to frequently suffer winter and insect damage, but by giving your Hollies a little extra care, you can limit or even avoid many of the problems Hollies typically experience.

When planting Hollies, it is important to select a location that is protected from the wind. Some species of Holly, such as the Blue Holly, can be susceptible to winter wind damage. This will usually not kill the plant, but the yellow and brown patches of damaged leaves will make the plant look sickly until new leaf tissue emerges to take its place later in the growing season. To further protect your Hollies from damage done by the cold winter winds, spray the plants each year with Bonide Wilt Stop.

Hollies always look best when their leaves are lush and healthy. Beginning in April, spray Hollies 3 times a year, at an interval of every 6 weeks with Fertilome Azalea/Evergreen Food Plus With Systemic to bring out the deep, rich, natural color of the leaves. By starting these applications early in April, the systemic insecticide that is in Fertilome Azalea/Evergreen Food Plus With Systemic will have a chance to be fully absorbed into the leaf structure before bothersome insect pests can nest under its branches and cause damage.

Varieties of Holly like the American Holly are frequently plagued by infestations of an insect known as the Leaf Miner. To keep Leaf Miners from damaging your Hollies, spray the plants with Fertilome Borer, Bagworm, Leaf Miner and Tent Caterpillar Spray as soon as you notice new leaves beginning to emerge. Spraying the Hollies with 2 applications, at an interval of 3 weeks apart will give you the best control and protection against Leaf Miners.

It is important to trim Hollies regularly to add fullness and symmetry to their shape and appearance. All trimming should be done from late April up until the 1st of September. Any trimming done after the 1st of September can cause the Holly to produce new growth late in the growing season, which will be highly prone to winter kill.

Hollies prefer soil that is slightly acidic. Applying Hi-Yield Cottonseed Meal to the soil surrounding your Hollies once a year will create a soil environment with the ideal acidic growing conditions. Additionally, Cottonseed Meal is an excellent organic source of Nitrogen, an essential nutrient that all Hollies need to grow and thrive.

Certain varieties of plants will only grow in specific climates, (called zones), so always be sure to check the zone hardiness for your area when selecting new Holliess or any other plant. The Northern Indiana/South West Lower Michigan area lies in zone 5, and has a climate that can support plants listed as being hardy in zones 1 through 5. The Holly family has a vast array of plants that grow well in the Northern Indiana/South West Lower Michigan area. Some excellent varieties for this area include the American Holly, the Blue Boy Holly, the Blue Girl Holly, the Blue Prince Holly, the Blue Princess Holly, the China Boy Holly, the China Girl Holly, the Compact Oregon Grape Holly, the Golden Girl Holly, and the Oregon Grape Holly.

For more information on zone hardiness, see our USDA Plant Hardiness Map.


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