Manage Your Sprawling Winterberry

Trim your winterberry or Ilex verticillata bush to improve its health and appearance. The best time to prune your holly bush is in December as the cooler air will benefit the plant. You can even use the trimmings for decorations!

Give It a Natural Shape

If you prune your winterberry plant too much, it will look not only look unnatural, but the plant will have a hard time continuing to grow. Rather than spread out, it will begin to wilt. Start on the inside of the bush and work your way to the edges. Use scissors rather than trimmers as the scissors will be more gentle on your plant.

Discard Dead and Diseased Branches

Cut off any dead or diseased branches to help the rest of the plant remain healthy and gather nutrients for continuous growth. If you want to thin out the plant, cut back any new growth as far as you like—even the main branch. 

Throw the Branches Away

Throw anything you've cut from the bush into a garbage bin. Branches and leaves that remain around the winterberry bush could cause diseases—especially if they are disease branches. Using them as mulch could be more hurtful to the plant than beneficial.