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by Charles
(Oklahoma City, Ok., USA)



Hi, I live in Oklahoma City. Last winter in February Oklahoma suffered a polar vortex, and on the first day of the week long event the temperature went to -14° and didn’t go above 20° for the next four days.

I remember that day as all the Robins went into the Holly and ate all the red berries. Now here we are a little over three months later and all the other trees and shrubs even the grass has recovered quite nicely, but the Holly seems to be struggling. Some of it seems to be coming back, some of it appears to come back and then dies out again.

So I was thinking that it might help to do a little bark scraping to see what is green and what is not and prune out what is not green. What are your thoughts on this idea?

If you must have a photo please let me know.

Comments for Pruning my Holly

May 23, 2021

Thank you
by: Jacki Cammidge, Certified Horticulturist

On behalf of the robins, thank you! Your holly trees were likely the difference between life and death for them.

The problem with holly is that even though they are generally hardy, as a broadleaf evergreen they are very susceptible to extreme temperature changes and windy conditions. Getting that kind of cold so suddenly would definitely have an impact.

Keep in mind also that in a lot of cases it’s the roots that are more delicate and suffer the most damage from extreme cold.

What I would do, even though it may look bad, is to leave it alone. Sometimes, cutting dead wood back too soon can send it further, and it is hard to figure out where the good, live wood starts.
You could scrape off bark, but this again, can start a problem with pathogens getting in, making even more problems.

A picture definitely would help! I found one to hold the place, but please do send me one – you can start a new submission, and I’ll merge them, or use the Contact button at the bottom of every page in the footer).