The late spring is the time every year when the Nellie Stevens holly creates new berries. The hollies are cross pollinated by the bees. Hollies that have pollinated flowers will develop small green berries that will grow and become red in the fall. The formation of berries requires plant energy and the holly will make fewer new leaves in may as energy reserves are used for berry production. Coming out of a winter with a few lows of 2 degrees f , many hollies have more winter damaged leaves , which turn yellow and drop as new leaves emerge.
To maximize holly leaf production we limit berry production. One way is with chemical sprays which inhibit the holly flower fruit production. At Pryor’s Nursery, we go organic and prune back our male holly and cover him with mosquito netting so the bees cannot access the flowers. Without cross pollination, the holly flowers are naturally sterile and plant reserves will go to more leaf production.
I am always torn between holly berries or more leaves. This year at our tree farm we need the plants to make more foliage to replace the winter damaged leaves. This will make your evergreen living fence denser after a hard winter.
We are already backed up with orders this spring therefore, place your orders now if you want to have them installed before the end of June. : )