The Best Time to Prune Holly Bushes

Although they are often associated with the Christmas season, holly bushes add beauty to any landscape all year round. Whether pruning holly into hedges or to maintain their shrub-like shape, knowing how to prune your holly will make all the difference.

Easily recognizable, holly bushes are known for their pointy leaves and red berries.


Although several species of holly exist, most should be pruned in December, when bushes are dormant. indicates that pruning during harsh winter conditions will cause purple spots to develop on leaves. Pruning during summer or soon after flowering will result in loss of berry production.


Prune holly bushes by removing dead, diseased or excess growth. Begin from the inside branches and prune toward the outside branches. Cut just above younger buds or along the central branch.


Properly pruning holly bushes encourages new growth by providing space for an abundance of thick foliage in the coming year. Prune to enhance shape and create a neat, clean appearance. Shape holly bushes into hedges that provide shade and privacy.