En EspaŅol

Q. Who is Mr. Smarty Plants?

A: There are those who suspect Wildflower Center volunteers are the culpable and capable culprits. Yet, others think staff members play some, albeit small, role. You can torture us with your plant questions, but we will never reveal the Green Guru's secret identity.

Help us grow by giving to the Plant Database Fund or by becoming a member

Did you know you can access the Native Plant Information Network with your web-enabled smartphone?

Share

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants is a free service provided by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

Search Smarty Plants
    
 
See a list of all Smarty Plants questions
Can't find the answer in our existing FAQs, submit a question to Mr. Smarty Plants.
Need help with plant identification, visit the plant identification page.
 
rate this answer
11 ratings

Saturday - April 24, 2010

From: Goldsboro, NC
Region: Southeast
Topic: Pruning, Shrubs
Title: Correcting overgrown Savannah holly in Goldsboro NC
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

I have an overgrown Savannah Holly. How do I go about correcting?

ANSWER:

Savannah Holly is a trade name for Ilex x attenuata which is an older selection of a cross between North American native hollies Ilex cassine (dahoon) and Ilex opaca (American holly). Notice the "x" in the center of the Latin name, that means it is a cross or hybrid. We have no hybrids in our Native Plant Database, but will try to find some general information on pruning this particular holly.

This Floridata website says it can be grown as a large pyrimidal shrub or a small tree. You can also get some ideas of how this holly can be shaped by looking at these images from Google.  From a gardening Know How website, we found an article How to Prune Holly Bushes. From About.Com: Landscaping we excerpted the following paragraph from their article Winter Landscaping and Holly Plant:

"To give your holly a shape of your own choosing, prune back the tips of the current season's growth in late summer, autumn, or winter. If you have an old holly plant on your landscape which you wish to rejuvenate, Bunting has some tips on pruning holly shrubs. Bunting advises that you "'hat rack' it in late winter by cutting back the branches by half to three-quarters of their length. The remaining plant will have few leaves and look like a hat rack, but in spring it will flush out with new foliage from all the pruning cuts. In two to three years, it will be fully covered in leaves. Hat racking will result in a plant much reduced in size, but still full of foliage."

As far as we are concerned, that comes as close to the practical advice you are wanting. You are not going to get overnight results, but if your holly is overgrown and shapeless, you will eventually attain the look you have in mind. 

 

 

More Shrubs Questions

Dog-proof shrubs in Woodmere NY
May 21, 2009 - My chocolate lab thinks that shrubs are the same as "fetch" sticks..she's ripped out my azalea, rhododendron, andromeda and a few others I'm not sure of the names. She's a great pup (almost 1 yr...
view the full question and answer

Native plants for restoring a North Carolina pond site
April 12, 2011 - I reconstructed the dam to a 50 year old cattle pond at our high-end residential development in Charlotte, NC. There are many large mature trees around the pond but also some good sun exposure at two ...
view the full question and answer

Native plant for border in central coastal Texas
September 29, 2015 - I am looking for a native plant suggestion for a border along my front porch in central coastal Texas. My site has heavy gumbo soil and strong sunlight. I want something not more than 2 or 3 feet t...
view the full question and answer

Replacement of barberry hedge with native, bird-friendly plants
August 30, 2006 - I am looking to replace an existing barberry hedge with a deciduous hedge, using a plant that is native to the northeast. I am in zone 6. The site is sun/part sun with decent drainage. The mature si...
view the full question and answer

Identification of tree or shrub in Massachusetts
May 16, 2013 - Good morning, We are in Zone 5 and have a tree/shrub I cannot identify in the backyard of our new home. Tall (6')and growing, green stems,and when the stems are broken the branches smell of lemon o...
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.
E-NEWSLETTER | BECOME A MEMBER | DONATE NOW | MEDIA | SITEMAP | STAFF
© 2016 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center