Why control English holly
||English holly grows quickly, forming dense thickets in
forests. Tall holly shrubs cast deep shade on understory
plants, making it difficult for native plants to compete for light,
water and nutrients. Some plant surveys in Washington
are finding English holly among the most frequent non-native
species in forest understories, which could allow this invasive
species to replace aging deciduous forests instead of native
coniferous forest ecosystems.
What you can do to help
Eliminate the source
Keep English holly out of your garden. Gardeners struggle
to keep holly within the confines of their gardens. Birds
easily disperse the eye-catching red berries that hold holly seeds,
spreading them deep into our neighbouring forests. Holly also
escapes by suckering and layering. The best strategy to keep
holly out of our forests and native habitat is by keeping it out of
Pull or cut
|Hand-pull small seedlings when the soil is moist. Cut
larger trees at ground level and regularly monitor the area for
re-sprouting either at the stump or through suckers nearby.
Eventually, diligent cutting will kill the root system.
Mature trees have deep and extensive roots making digging
labour-intensive and highly disruptive to surrounding soil.
Dispose of holly seeds
|Holly berries should be placed in the garbage to
make sure they don't sprout elsewhere. Holly stems and leaves
can be composted, but watch they don't sprout roots.
Restore the site
Removing holly can leave gaps in a forest - future habitat for
any number of deserving native species. Alternative plants
that you can plant include tall Oregon grape, Indian plum, and red
For more information and helpful tips
Contact your local conservancy to see if they can help
you find the most effective way to remove English holly from your
land. For more information about English holly and best
practices for removing this plant, visit: