we agree some cutting-grown trees need aggressive waterspout control?

davidrt28 (zone 7)
2 years ago
last modified: 2 years ago

Here is an Ilex 'James G. Esson' from which I have been aggressively removing waterspouts for the last 8 years, as it grew from a 24" tall 2 gallon plant. This year it finally gave up.

Here is a holly near my house, almost certainly planted in the 60s and quite possibly cutting grown. (I'm told the people who built the house were very into horticulture - what a co-incidence. The old Japanese Maples certainly attest to that.) This is the mess you can expect from a cutting grown plant that is not so controlled. It had 4 main trunks, and I removed one for practical, not cosmetic reasons, causing all that new growth you see. Basically, even putting aside the fact it's a boring opaca, this plant already marked for removal once a replacement gets a little bigger.

Here are two native, seedling hollies in the wild part of my property, that used to be more wooded and brushy but I've slowly be clearing out. You can see both naturally formed a single stem from seed. From a distance it is more attractive and more cone-shaped. I did have to limb up the big one to capture some Smilax and Celastrus vines.

All of the wild hollies I see the woods are like this.

In contrast, so many cultivated hollies I see have the ugly multi-stemmed look. Even ones in some professional collections.

Going back to the first cultivar, 'James G. Esson', here is one in a European collection where the standards of care were obviously high and the plants were properly shaped when young.

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Hollies are the worst but I see the problem with other plants, like southern Magnolia. Now a doubting Thomas might say that, well, the first one might have been pruned as a large shrub for years. Possible, but almost every cutting grown holly I've grown will throw up waterspouts for the first few years. If they aren't cut out, they will form multiple trunks.

I've been meaning to do a post like this for months - I'm pretty sure it isn't a repeat but if so, my bad.

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