Sunday, November 2, 2008

It's That Time Again....

It is that time again and I can't put it off any longer. It's time to trim the holly bushes. I spent 2 days last spring outside with my mother-in-law cutting out the thicker branches of my holly bushes which hurt quite a bit! These are the one that have the sharp spines on them but I feel the pain was well worth the effort. You see these bushes, at 6 feet high and three feet deep, are my security blanket on the lesser used side of my house. The only other planting I have on the property with more stopping power is my Spanish Bayonet plant. This fast growing plant got it's name from a genius because it means exactly what the plant is, a bayonet! If you get too close you will bleed easily, and it will take out an eye without the slightest movement of the plant. I have to go around this plant every 3 months and clip off the needle point tips so I don't end up looking like I came out of a George Romero movie, as a victim. Let me explain one thing about this plant. When I moved in it was 3 feet tall and 4 feet across. The last time I trimmed it the dimensions were 7 feet tall and 8 feet across with at least 2-3 hundred bayonets on it. I use the trimmings in an area where people like to cut throught my yard as a natural fence. It works great for that and actually will start growing there as well. I wouldn't want to walk into that some night. The holly's are a lesser hurt, but a hurt none the less, that make a great deterrent to the criminally idle who may want to gain entrance. There will be lots of DNA all over the place. Holly makes a great property border so long as it is kept trimmed correctly, otherwise you will have some unhappy neighbors. If you buy holly make sure you don't get a dwarf variety or the best height you'll see is probably about 3 feet. I already made that mistake in the backyard, only 2 of them fortunately.

Trimming tip for the holly bushes. Once a year trim out the larger branches without leaving massive holes in the bushes. I find spring the best time since the growing will start sooner. In the fall I just use the hedge trimmer and shape the hedges to the desired height and depth. Hope this helps!

The top picture is the American holly which I have the most of and is what I have along the house. You can see the multiple spines on each leaf. The birds adore the red berries that grow but take warning - they should NEVER be eaten by people! The picture below is the Foster holly of which I have a few along the house, 2 or 3, and they still have a sharp center spine.

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