Deer completely stripped my Holly bushes

Asked April 10, 2019, 12:08 PM EDT

Can I save my 4 beautiful 4 foot tall Holly bushes? This winter for the 1st time ever the deer ate every leaf off all 4 bushes which are next to my house. They Are about 15 years old. Can they survive? Should I cut them back? Cut the all the way back to 4-5 inche's? Or will they die without the green leaves that normally stay alive all winter. I'm a older widow and will have to hire someone to remove and replace them . I'd rather save them if I can. Please advise . Thank you Lynda Dreese Grand Haven 616-846-2394 (Land line)

Ottawa County Michigan pruning shrubs holly

1 Response

Lynda,
Wait and see is what is usually usually suggested in situations where damage on woodies happens during winter. Once the weather gets warm (say mid May) you should begin to see new growth. A moderate fertilization (or application of compost) will help it along. Once you get some growth you can prune. Avoid pruning and fertilizing after mid July. It may take time for the plants to be restored.
I hope this helps,