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Holly, American Ilex opaca

Holly, American - Ilex opaca
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Can be pruned as an attractive hedge, or reaches 40' - 50' as a tree. Leaves stay green year round. Plant 4 or more to cross pollinate to get red, berry-like fruit. (zones 5-9)

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Zones 5 - 9 Zones 5 - 9
Hardiness Zones 5 - 9
The American Holly can be expected to grow in the zones shown in color in the arborday.org zone map. View Map
Evergreen Evergreen
Type of tree
Evergreens, Ornamental Trees
40' - 50' High 40' - 50' High
Mature Height
The American Holly grows to be 40' - 50' feet in height.
18' - 40' Spread 18' - 40' Spread
Mature Spread
The American Holly has a spread of about 18' - 40' at full maturity.
Slow to Medium Growth Slow to Medium Growth
Growth Rate
This tree grows at a slow to medium growth rate. More about this.
Full Sun Full Sun
Sun
This holly does well in full sun, partial shade.
Various Soils Various Soils
Soil
The American Holly grows in acidic, drought tolerant, loamy, moist, rich, sandy, well drained, wide range, clay soils.
Pyramidal Shape Pyramidal Shape
Shape
This holly has pyramidal shape.
Attributes

The American Holly tree is a well-formed and very handsome specimen that can also serve as a hedge or barrier. Another nice attribute is its adaptability in semi-shade locations, often being successfully planted underneath the canopies of larger shade trees.

Description

Can be pruned as an attractive hedge, or reaches 40' - 50' as a tree. Leaves stay green year round. Plant 4 or more to cross pollinate to get red, berry-like fruit. (zones 5-9)

Wildlife Value

The foliage of the American Holly provides cover for songbirds and mammals and its fruit is used extensively by bluebirds and thrashers.

History/Lore/Use

The American Holly tree has been popular since the beginning of American history, having served the Native Americans with wood for many different applications and berries that were used for buttons and barter. It was said to be a favorite of George Washington, and more than a dozen Hollies planted by him are still in evidence today. It is also widely known as the basic raw material for Christmas wreaths. The first scientific observation of the American Holly tree was recorded in 1744.

Moisture

Normal moisture requirement, though it tolerates some flooding and has good drought tolerance.

Leaves

The leaves are 2 to 4 inches long, leathery, green all year and sharply tipped on the margins.

Flower Color

Whitish-green; pleasant fragrance; attractive to bees.

Bloom Time

May-early June

Fruit Description

The red, berry-like fruit is popular with a variety of birds.