The front of my house is lined with some nice healthy holly bushes. They're about 5 ft tall by maybe 4 feet deep. In preparing to paint the house, the painters trimmed back the bushes to provide about 18 inches of clearance between the bushes and the house. This cut the bushes nearly in half, front to back. My wife is furious and insists the bushes are probably going to die and even if they don't, they're not going to grow back. She thinks we need to remove the bushes and replant, which sounds very drastic to me.
Any tips would be appreciated
In my limited experience holly bushes are very hardy.
On the other hand if that trimming took half the bush they were planted too close to the house to begin with. There should be about 12 inches of open space between your plantings and house to allow ample air flow for your siding, whatever it is.
If they look okay from the front I would let them be and keep the back trimmed. Just my opinion.
I agree with metwo's post. I've hacked back holly pretty hard and once established, the stuff is pretty hard to kill. They can take a pretty severe beating.
And as (s)he said, they shouldn't have been allowed to grow that close to the house.
If they cut only on the one side, then the plant might well look off-kilter. Don't worry, with proper pruning on your part in the coming season, they'll grow back to be how you like them.
Many plants are cut back to keep them in a compact form and they come back better than ever.
Don't let them dry out. In dry spells do give them sufficient water. They like it slightly acidic so a little garden sulfur (a very little) can bring their pH back to where it should be.
Thanks for the responses. I think they've helped calm my wife down and were going to be patient and wait it out!
One house that we painted had MAJOR holly bushes. We cut them to about 6" tall...had to use a chain saw on some of them. The next year they were beautiful! All filled out again and looked a LOT better than they had before we cut them! I wouldn't worry!
"The soil is the source of life, creativity, culture and real independence." David Ben-Gurion
I've seen them cut to the ground and come back and grow quickly.
You might want to prune now just to get a desired shape but, as others have said, don't worry.
I also believe that plantings should be quite a distance from a structure; a couple of feet at least (dependent upon what is planted). Holly grows wide and tall.
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