How to Prune Blue Princess Meserve Holly


Blue princess meserve holly (Ilex x meserveae), which is often shortened to blue holly, is a dense shrub that can grow up to 12 feet high. The blue holly grows quickly and produces large quantities of thick foliage each year, provided it is healthy and in ideal conditions. Pruning keeps the volume of branches in check, allowing you to shape your blue holly and maintain its aesthetic appeal. Wait until late winter or early spring, after the last threat of frost has passed, to prune blue princess meserve holly.

Things You'll Need

  • Sharp pruning shears
  • Clean cloth
  • Rubbing alcohol
  • Knife
  • Wash any visible dirt from the blades of your pruning shears with warm water. Dampen a clean cloth with rubbing alcohol, and wipe the blades to kill bacteria that could cause an infection in your blue princess meserve holly.

  • Examine the blue princess meserve holly carefully and cut off dead or rotting branches. If you are unsure if a branch is dead, use a knife to scrape off some of its bark. If the color beneath is brown or gray, it is dead. If the color is green, the branch is alive.

  • Remove sprouts around the base of the blue princess meserve holly, cutting them back to ground level. These are known as suckers and cause the holly to expend more energy than necessary.

  • Trim any branches that protrude from the blue princess meserve holly’s main foliage or are significantly longer than the rest. Clip the branch about 2 inches behind the main growth to hide the exposed end beneath the leaves. If you prefer the unruly look, or do not wish to prune for aesthetics, skip this step.

  • Repeat the pruning process each year after the last frost to keep your blue princess meserve holly healthy and prevent overgrowth. Some blue princess meserve holly shrubs only require pruning every other year. Observe your holly; if it does not have dead branches or unwanted growth, you do not need to prune it for the year.

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