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
Not Yet Rated

Wednesday - October 27, 2010

From: Rogers City, MI
Region: Midwest
Topic: Pruning
Title: Need pruning advice in northern Michigan
Answered by: Marilyn Kircus

QUESTION:

Is it OK to prune my evergreen bushes and holly in October in northern Michigan?

ANSWER:

Our range of expertise is in plants native to North America and to the area in which the plants are being grown.  Most of them don't need much pruning unless you are pruning them up into a tree or removing damaged limbs.  For non-native evergreens, Michigan State University has an excellent discussion here. And you should also be able to use this information for your native evergreens since it is talking about the various sub-groups of evergreens.

Once you identify your evergreen type(s), just follow the instructions.

The only Michigan native holly I can find is Ilex verticillata (Common winterberry); however, it is the only holly that is NOT evergreen, although it has wonderful red berries for the birds and Winter color. You definitely would not want to prune off the developing berries.  Hollies rarely need any pruning,  just prune off dead branches or lightly prune a branch that is not growing correctly. Here is another pruning article from Michigan that gives good advice and shows how to thin out shrubs that need thinning.

 

From the Image Gallery


Common winterberry
Ilex verticillata

Common winterberry
Ilex verticillata

Common winterberry
Ilex verticillata

More Pruning Questions

Decline of sheared dwarf hollies from Rockwall TX
May 31, 2014 - I have 20 year old established dwarf yaupon hollies in front of the house that I trim every year and shape the same. This year the new growth that was 2 1/2 " long I noticed the new leaves were curli...
view the full question and answer

How can I prune my Texas Mountain Laurels to be more tree-like?
March 24, 2011 - I planted several Texas Mountain Laurels last spring and would like to train them to be more tree-like rather than shrub-like. Each is around 36" tall with 5-10 trunks coming from the ground. Where...
view the full question and answer

Taking down a Century Plant blooming stalk from Fair Oaks Branch TX
August 09, 2013 - Our century cactus looks like it's in the final stages of blooming and I read on your site that the original plant dies. Can we go ahead and cut down the tall blooms?
view the full question and answer

How to remove plume from Yucca elephantipes in NJ?
August 02, 2011 - In Manahawkin, NJ, how do we cut plume (2" diameter) off 10' Yucca elephantipes?
view the full question and answer

Lack of Blooms and Low Hanging Limbs on Mountain Laurels
August 06, 2014 - My mountain laurel didn't bloom this year but has a few hard pods on it. It is 9 ft tall but very top heavy with most growth low. I need to prune it a lot at the bottom because it has branches hangi...
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
© 2015 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center