Privacy Screen - Use Hollies for Shade Areas.

Published: 17th October 2011
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Nellie Stevens and Emily Bruner Hollies are two excellent choices for privacy screens with partial shade. They have an advantage of being more shade tolerant than Leyland Cypress or Thuja Green Giant, which are the number one privacy screen trees but require full sun.

Emily Bruner "Ilex x Emily Brunner" Hollies are a good choice. They have dark green Foliage, large red winter berries, medium growth rate, and mature height at 20'. We recommend theses because they move well, similar to Nellie Stevens in that regard. Emily Bruner are rated as cold hardy through zone 7.

Nellie Stevens "Ilex x Nellie R Stevens" Hollies are the most popular Hollies for a privacy screen. They are rated a fast growers, have glossy dark green Foliage, red winter berries, and mature height at 25'. We recommend these because they move well, similar to Emily Bruner hollies. Nellie Stevens are rated as cold hardy through zone 6.

We recommend Nellie Stevens and Emily Bruner Hollies because they move well. Some other Hollies varieties are risky to move, will drop leaves after being dug unless dug at the perfect time of year. For some of those Holly Varieties, we dig, then keep under irrigation for a period of time so they can "heal over" or recover from being dug.

When we say Hollies with medium and fast growth rate as above does not mean they compare with Leyland Cypress or Thuja Green Giant at 3' per year. You can expect these hollies to grow one foot per year. Fertilize with 14-14-14 slow release, using one pound per inch of trunk diameter sprinkled around the drip line of the tree April 1. While "deep south" locations could repeat the same fertilizer application around Sept 15th, we recommend you omit the Fall application if you are located north of VA to reduce winter burn. You should space your hollies with target mature height in mind. If you only need a 12' height at maturity for your privacy screen, use the rule of 4's and space as close as 3' , because 12 divided by 4 = 3. You could also space wider at 4', but not closer than 3'. By the same pattern, if you desire a 20' tall row, you should space at 5' on enter. You actually encourage the trees to grow taller by planting them close, when they sense the competition for light on either side, they spend their energy growing taller. Best time to move Hollies is either before the new growth pushes out in spring, by the third week of March or after the new growth "hardens off, around Memorial day weekend or June 10th.


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David Watterson started with Leyland Cypress trees in 1995 and now grows, ships and plants all popular privacy screen trees. Many customers in DC area, NJ, NY(especially Long Island), CT and RI, contact us for advice and prices on great material. http://www.treefarmnc.com

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