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

Failure of older branches on Bauhinia lunarioides to thrive
April 27, 2008 - We planted a sapling of the Anacacho Orchid Tree (Bauhinia lunarioides) winter (Jan, Feb?) and now it has leaves and blooms - but only off of new branches near its trunk, as the old branches haven't ...
view the full question and answer

Trimming of Flame acanthus from Bastrop TX
February 17, 2012 - My flame acanthus never lost leaves off the bottom tier of branches this winter. With the brief warm weather and rain we've had, the top and middle tier of branches have all re-leafed. It is very l...
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

Cleaning up Adams Needle yucca in Vancouver Island BC
May 19, 2009 - We have Adam's needle yucca's in our the flower bed of our newly purchased home here on Vancouver Island BC. They thrive and produce impressive flowers. How do I clean them up in the spring time ...
view the full question and answer

Pruning the leaves of Sago Palm.
March 10, 2010 - Is it a cardinal sin to remove all the sago palm branches? This winter they were so badly scorched by the cold that hardly a frond went unaffected. So I cut them all off as I needed to get around the...
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