Holly plants have apparent winter damage. About 60% brown leaves. The female...
Holly plants have apparent winter damage. About 60% brown leaves. The female plant stems are green & brown with the male being mostly brown. The brown branches/stems are not brittle. Gave them lots of water in the fall and have been watering this spring. Looks alive. Do I remove the brown leaves or otherwise trim? Other suggestions appreciated!
If it is winter damage, which is likely given the harsh winter we experienced and the fact that holly is barely hardy in your area, the buds at the end of branch tips may or may not be also damaged. If they are not, you will get new leaves at the end of the branches. However, that may not be enough to make the holly look decent. The brown leaves will not come back. You should probably cut the branches back to green leaves. Next year you might want to cover the plants to prevent this from happening again. You are doing the right thing by keeping the plants well watered. Let's just hope the last winter is not repeated any time soon.