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3 Tips to Help Maintain Your American Holly Trees

A Holly
Most people associate the American holly tree with Christmas because of its green holly sprigs and bright red berries. However, this tree adds beauty and value to your landscaping all throughout the year.

With potential heights of up to 50 feet and a spread of up to 40 feet, the American holly tree is destined to make an impact in your yard. Of course, once planted, the tree does require a good amount of care to ensure it is healthy and appealing. With these tips and the help of professionals, your American holly tree will grow and thrive in your landscape design.

1. Water

When first planted, your tree will require a good amount of water to help the roots establish themselves. You should water the tree and surrounding soil thoroughly each week after planting.

Once established, the American holly does not require as much water unless the local climate is experiencing high heat. The tree can survive periods of drought, as well, but you should water it thoroughly if you have not experienced any rain.

Keep the soil around the tree moist but not soggy since too much moisture can lead to fungal disease that will harm your tree.

Consider surrounding your tree with mulch. Soak the mulch when watering; the tree's roots will absorb this water over time. Not only is it beneficial for trapping in moisture for your tree, but mulch also adds a decorative touch to your tree and overall landscape design.

2. Fertilize

Fertilizing your American holly tree is also important since the lack of essential nutrients can lead to chlorosis, a condition that causes the leaves to yellow.

If your tree does not receive all the necessary nutrients for an extended time, the leaves will yellow and fall prematurely. This increases the risk of more dangerous problems for your tree, such as pest infestations and fungal infections.

Thankfully, fertilization for your American holly tree does not have to be a challenging task. To get started, have the soil around your tree tested to determine what it is and is not lacking.

Most experts recommend an 8-8-8 or 10-10-10 fertilizer. Basically, this means a fertilizer that contains the same percentages of nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium. If your tree is already suffering from chlorosis, a 10-5-5 fertilizer is ideal.

Timing also matters. Apply a slow-release granular fertilizer in the middle or late part of fall. This will strengthen the tree and its roots, helping it survive the cold temperatures of winter so it can produce new growth in the spring season.

3. Prune

Proper pruning is essential for protecting the tree's health, but it can also improve or enhance the tree's appearance.

December of the late part of winter is a good time to prune your American holly tree. By removing diseased or decaying branches and leaves, your tree will be ready to produce new growth in the spring season.

Branches that are bent, broken, discolored, or decaying should be removed first. Make sure to dispose of any diseased branches away from the tree to prevent pests or fungi from spreading to other plants and trees.

Do not prune lower branches shorter than higher branches. Start at the bottom of the tree and work your way up to create or restore the classic pyramidal shape of the tree.

You can prune your American holly tree in the warmer parts of the year if you notice diseased or decaying branches. Remember that heavy pruning in the summer can decrease the tree's production of berries in the winter.

The American holly tree is a great addition to your yard. For assistance maintaining your trees, contact T's Trees today.