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 Pruning Questions

Safe branch length of oaks in Clayton NC
November 06, 2011 - I have 2 very large oak trees in my yard and I am concerned about the length of the branches over the house and driveway. Most seem larger than 4" in diameter. What is a safe length for these branc...
view the full question and answer

Cutting back achillea in New York
March 18, 2009 - Last summer I planted three gorgeous hearty achillea with flat, yellow tops, about 3 feet high or more each, in my sunny garden. But after they were done flowering, I left those very pretty brown stem...
view the full question and answer

Cutting back of non-native Salvia Elegans in Portland OR
December 31, 2011 - I did not trim back my pineapple sage in the fall. It is now winter and the plants are bare sticks. Should I cut them back or leave them alone?
view the full question and answer

Controlling size of red yucca in Austin
March 13, 2009 - I have planted red yucca in my backyard, which produces many flowering stalks for the past few years. These red yucca are becoming too large for the area that are planted in. What recommendations do...
view the full question and answer

Time to cut back Turk's Cap in Austin
January 27, 2011 - I did not find my question answered in the database. My question is: When is the best time to cut back Red Turks Cap? I live in Central Austin.
view the full question and answer

Smarty Plants's Facebook profile Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.

Mr. Smarty Plants wants you to be his Facebook friend. Click the Facebook icon to add yourself to Mr. Smarty Plants list of friends.
E-NEWSLETTER | BECOME A MEMBER | DONATE NOW | MEDIA | SITEMAP | STAFF
© 2015 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center