Holly Jolly Christmas

Listening to the radio last night I heard a song about how the Winter makes us reflective and reminds us to read those books stacked next to the bed. I started to reflect on some of the ornamental trees and a shrub around the micro farm.  I have not made much time to take good care of them. Over the past two years I have been pruning them to protect the house,  to cut obvious overgrowth, and to give birds access to bird feeders.

For my zone 5 micro farm March is probably the best time for me to prune these plants.  I took pictures today to help me plan my pruning, before I need the snowshoes to take pictures.

The front of the house has an ornamental maple tree and a holly shrub.

This ornamental maple needs some trimming
These are some ideas I am thinking about

I think I am a bit concerned by how the branches stem off near the bottom of the tree.  If I cut those limbs it will look dramatically different, but may be good for the tree.  There is also a good deal of growth toward the middle of the tree, so much of that will be pruned out as well.  I also think the tree’s shape is a bit un-even so I want to even it out as well.

The holly bush has some seasonally appropriate red berries now.  I think if I did some better pruning I think the berries would be more visible.

The holly bush out of control, at least a little
Here is what I am thinking about how to prune the holly

I want to bring in the sides to stay in line with the house.  There are a couple of “holes” that might take a couple of years to fill in.  I also need to prune the back to it is about 16″ away from the house.

I have two trees in the back that also need pruning.

I am still thinking about how to best prune this tree

I am thinking about moving this tree. It is very near the septic tank and I do not want the roots to interrupt the septic system.  So pruning may need to wait until next year. However, it is a strong grower, I have cut it back strongly twice and always comes back nice and strong.

I have seen a lot of different pruning jobs done on these trees. What is your favorite?

I welcome your thoughts or ideas about how to prune these trees.  I do not have a lot of pruning experience. I am confident I will not kill these trees but I do not want them to look ugly for the next two years, especially the ones that face the street.

Enjoy the next week and Christmas.  I wish you peace and joy at this Christmas season.

Enjoy this season, learn from last season, and look forward to next season.


4 thoughts on “Holly Jolly Christmas

  1. I just bought (another) book on pruning. I think it’s one of the scariest things we do as gardeners. I’m pretty confident with roses and hollies (they usually appreciate a good pruning), but with trees I’m a bit more reluctant. I do think, however, that winter is the perfect time to think about it. You can take a photo and see the outline of their shapes well without all the leaves, which helps to decide where to prune. Good luck with all your different pruning jobs!

    1. Holleygarden, I really appreciate your consistent readership and comments. I took more pics than I post on the blog. I hope to come up with a plan for March. If you get any good tips from your book I hope you blog about them so I can read about them.

  2. Pruning maples has always scared me a little too. I see what you mean about the lowest branches. I think you could easily prune the bottom left branch. There’s good left-side structure higher up the tree. I’d be hesitant to prune the right branch though, the one that’s crossing in front of the holly, as that’s the only right side lateral. See, I said maples scare me! One thought might be to try pruning the tree in Photoshop first, as it’s less permanent, at least for the main branches. It might help you see the potential result before you commit! If you get cold feet, maybe consult an arborist? Good luck, and happy holidays!

  3. I sympathize. One of my best friends who is a very accomplished landscape designer visited my gardens this fall and was so appalled that she said she would be back in February to prune EVERYTHING. I am absolutely terrible at cutting back any plants so everything is overgrown. I am going to let her take over and just haul off the cuttings. Happy Holidays, Carolyn

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