American Holly

Ilex opaca

Growzone: 5-9

As Low As $54.95
1. Choose Size & Quantity
Size Price Quantity
3 GAL 4-5' $54.95
2. Choose Recommended Add-Ons
Product Price Quantity
Espoma Bio-Tone Plus Starter Plus $14.95
Treegator Jr. Slow Release Watering Bag $25.95
Espoma Holly-Tone $12.95
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This Plants Growzone: 5-9
Growing Zone: 6-9
Mature Height: 15 to 20 feet
Mature Width: 10 to 12 feet
Sunlight: Full Sun to part shade
Foliage Color: Dark Green
Growth Form: Upright pyramidal
Soil Conditions: Very tolerant of most soil conditions

American Holly Shrubs for Sale Online


This fast-growing pyramidal shrub keeps its vibrant fruit through the winter when the red of the berries contrasts against the green foliage and is a striking specimen all year.

Highlights of the American Holly:

  • One of the easiest growing Native Hollies.
  • Great for privacy hedges or a mixed border.
  • Deer resistant.
  • Foliage can be used for Christmas and Holiday decorations.

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Full Description

The pride of native hollies, this very deer resistant holly has been overshadowed in recent years by more advertised cultivars, although the popularity of the plant remains strong. This pyramidal tree keeps its vibrant fruit through the winter when the red of the berries contrasts against the green foliage and is a striking specimen all year. This Native Holly, provides winter interest, easy to grow, adaptable to many soil types.

American Holly as a Privacy Screen

The ever popular American Holly is hardy to Zone 6. It is a pyramidal tree, which can reach up to 20 feet tall and up to 15 feet wide at the base which makes it good for tall screen. Give American Holly trees ample room, to allow for symmetry of growth. It grows well in a variety of soils, but prefers good drainage. The American Holly tree is great if you need to create privacy for your home. It’s a medium growing tree growing around 1 to 2 feet per year where its happy. We recommend planting American Holly in a line with about 5 feet apart from each other to create quick privacy, however they can be planted at 10 to 12 foot intervals if you don’t mind waiting a bit for privacy. When planting alone the tree takes on a pyramidal shape and can be grown as a specimen tree to break sight-lines. Double row plantings of American Holly are a great way to not only create privacy but to reduce noise from a busy roadway adjacent to your property for example. American Holly trees also make a wonderful backdrop for planting beds the pleasing evergreen dark color makes flowering plants really standout especially in the winter when it has its bright red berries.

American Holly as a Formal Hedge

The American Holly is widely used as a quick growing formal hedge. Plant 4 to 8 feet apart, depending upon your desired results. Trim when needed but we do suggest waiting until after the initial flush of soft spring growth however it can be pruned in late winter before the onset of new growth. If it is pruned every year, American Holly will create a formal dark-green evergreen screen or box-shaped hedge, similar to a Yew hedge. American Holly can be kept to any height as long as you trim it once or twice a year.

Use American Holly to add Vertical Elements to the Garden

American Holly can also be planted in clusters in corners of the garden or to hide smaller permanent fixtures in the garden such as well caps or utility boxes. Clusters can be used at the ends of shrub borders or even in the middle to bring symmetry or vertical elements into the garden. Shrub borders tend to be a uniform in height but by adding clusters of larger evergreen trees you bring variations in height as well as a sense of permanence to the garden.

Soil Types for American Holly

American Holly trees grow well in a wide range of soils, ranging from all sand to pure red clay. When planting in very sandy soils adding organic matter is always recommended to improve the soils ability to hold water and nutrients. When planting in hard clay soils, its best to dig the hole several feet wider than the root system and fill with soft loam soil to give the young American Holly tree a faster, more aggressive root system. American Holly prefer well drained soils but will tolerate wet soils for short periods of time. American Holly should never be planted in soils that are excessively wet for long periods of time. Since American Holly have a relativley shallow root system, weeds and grass growing around the tree will cause the tree to grow much slower until established. Mulching will improve your growth three fold. Mulch not only stops weeds and grass, it will hold soil moisture and maintain a lower more even soil temperature, stimulating more aggressive root growth.

History and Folklore of American Holly

American Holly wood has been used to make furniture, canes and scroll work. The wood has also been stained black and substituted for ebony in inlay work. American Holly wood is ideal for taking dyes, and is used for much of the black and white inlaid lines in musical instruments and furniture. It is also used for knife handles and black piano keys. American holly is the state tree of Delaware. A great deal of superstition once surrounded holly. It was believed that planting hollies near buildings would provide protection from witchcraft and lightning. It was also believed that the flowers of holly could be used to turn water to ice.


Planting Information

Follow these guidelines for the best results.

HOW TO PLANT AMERICAN HOLLY TREES

HOW TO PLANT AMERICAN HOLLY TREES

Never plant American Holly deeper than originally planted in the pot. As a rule we always say that before you mulch you should still be able to see the soil from the original pot. Planting to deep can cause rotting of the stem and death to the tree. American Holly are moderately drought tolerant, however they grow very slow without adequate water. Staking young trees is recommended to minimize the stress on the stem from winds blowing the tree. When tying trees to stakes remember the tree will continue to grow. Loosely tie the tree with several twist ties to allow for growth. Check trees every three months and loosen as needed. If this is not done, the twist tie will grow into the tree causing injury. A Pro tip that we can offer is to use a short length of old garden hose and run the tie wire through the hose. this will protect the trunk of the tree from being damaged by the tie wire. The one question that comes up often when talking to customers is “when is the best time to plant.”? For the most part, container trees can be planted year around, provided the ground isn’t frozen. Below Virginia many nurseries and Christmas tree growers field plant year around, weather permitting. When planting a potted tree, remember the only water source the tree has, is its small root ball, and all the water the tree uses must come from them until new roots can grow into the surrounding soil. New trees should be watered twice weekly (Minimum), under hot drier conditions possibly more. Care should be taken not to over water. More trees die from over watering than under.

HOW TO FERTILIZE AMERICAN HOLLY TREES

HOW TO FERTILIZE AMERICAN HOLLY TREES

We recommend when planting your plants to use Bio-tone starter fertilizer by Espoma. We have trialed many so called “starter fertilizers” over the years and have come to rely on Bio-tone exclusively for our own use. Simply mix the recommended amount of Bio-tone into the back fill soil and water in generously when back filled. Bio-tone® Starter Plus is an all-natural plant food that is combined with a stronger concentration of beneficial bacteria along with both endo and ecto mycorrhizae. Basically the “good” fungus in Bio-tone colonizes on the growing roots of your newly planted plant and does not allow disease causing fungus to attack the new roots. It has also shown promise in stimulating the growth of the new roots which means quicker establishment for you plant. After establishment and during the following years we recommend Holly-tone used at the recommended rates. It is also organic and slow release which will feed your trees the proper amount of nutrients over a period of time rather than all at once which can burn the root tips and actually have the opposite effect of slowing down plant growth. It also will help to maintain the acid level in the soil that American Holly trees need to thrive.

HOW TO WATER AMERICAN HOLLY TREES

HOW TO WATER AMERICAN HOLLY TREES

To help your American Holly trees roots to establish, apply 2-3 gallons of water for each inch of trunk in diameter several times a week. Do not add water if the root ball is saturated. Follow this schedule for three-six months depending on the USDA Zone you live in. Once established, apply 1 gallon a week to the rootball. You can discontinue irrigation once the deciduous trees in your area have dropped their leaves. You should try to moisten the soil 2-3 feet deep each time you irrigate. Depending on the soil condition, you may need more or less water. Clay for instance is more difficult to saturate and requires adding the water more slowly, while sandy soil absorbs water quickly. Keep this in mind when watering your newly planted tree. It is best to water you tree with a soaker hose not a sprinkler.


Frequently Asked questions

How do I shear American Holly Trees?

How long do American Holly trees live?


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