Holly trees are slow growing trees with a life expectancy of roughly 100 years. Holly trees can produce vibrant-red berries that are very popular as Christmas decorations.The trees grow to a height between 15 to 30 feet, with foliage that is usually columnlike. Under the proper conditions, holly trees usually produce berries once a year.
When to Expect Berries
Holly trees will begin to produce flowers and berries in their fourth or fifth year. The arrival of berries normally occurs in midautumn. The berries are approximately ¼ of an inch in diameter and red, although yellow berries are found on some varieties of holly trees. They are the common food source for birds, squirrels and other animals during the winter months.
Growing Conditions for Berry Production
For a holly tree to produce berries, the presence of a female and male holly trees in a close enough proximity is required, for pollination. Only female trees have the capability of producing berries. If your tree is devoid of berries, there are two probable explanations: either the tree is a male or there is not a male tree close enough to produce seeds on the female tree.
When landscaping your property with hollies, you need to carefully consider where the planting location for your trees. To produce berries, you need to have at least one male tree for every three to eight female trees. The male tree needs to be within 300 feet of the females. If the male tree is not available, it is possible to graft a male tree branch onto a female plant, which will result in berries.
Maintaining Holly Trees
Holly trees are generally considered low maintenance plants but do require some basic upkeep. Mature holly trees usually do not require additional watering unless the ground is particularly dry or before the first freeze of the winter. You can lightly prune your tree throughout the year, but try to avoid heavy pruning since it can adversely affect the production of berries. Any major pruning should be done in the winter months, usually December, when the plant is dormant. When pruning your tree, make sure that the lower branches are kept longer than the higher ones.
Peter Timm has been writing since 2002 for both print and online publications. Timm earned a Bachelor of Arts from the New York Institute of Technology in 2008 and emerged a technically astute writer.