Pruning a holly hedge
Hi I have recently acquired a new property with a mature hedge which is very "leggy" and in urgent need of pruning. The previous owner seemd to like a wide, gangly, open appearance, but I'd prefer it to be denser and more contained. I think it may be a cultivar of Ilex crenata, but can't find any specifics to be confident in identification. I've attached a couple of pictures. Many of the stems are very dark purplish in colour, and the leaves have very soft prickles (it's easy to handle). There are plenty of small white flowers on the plant now, but no sign of berries. I'm not sure when it was last clipped (certainly prior to September) but there seem to be a handful of trimmed branches which are now sprouting new bright green leaves. There are also tiny dark clusters of new leaves at the tips of the old growth. The hedge is about 15m long, and in parts over 2m deep. I am in Norway, which is temperate at 60N. I'd be really grateful if you are able to identify the plant, or at least give some pointers on the when and how harshly it can be pruned, as it is a beautful and otherwise healthy looking shrub. Many thanks, Dee
Certified GKH Gardening Expert
This one could be difficult to pinpoint. It is definitely a hybrid. I don't think it is crenata, as the leaves appear too large, and have an over-all different shape. This will make it hard to know the best time to prune, as this is often categorized by what type the shrub is. One thing in common with all, is that they can all be pruned once the shrub reaches a slow down in the growth. This is their "dormancy" stage.
I do believe one of its parents was a taller holly. This shows in its growth.
Here is an article that will help:https://www.gardeningknowhow.com/ornamental/shrubs/holly/trimming-holly-bushes-how-to-prune-holly-bushes.htm