sold out Holly is a wonderful plant to see in the dead of winter. The American holly in particular is amazing but it is not found too often in landscapes. There are a few thousand varieties of it, but often these are smaller statured selections and kind of wimpy in terms of tree like characteristics. The focus for breeding was mostly small diminutive landscape plants. Every one had there favorites. I was interested in large tree type hollies and began growing many seedlings as well as the Kline selections-the only tree like variety I could find. Eventually I began selecting individual plants from a population of 3000 plants where vigor and winter hardiness were the priority. It took around 25 years to really appreciate the populations I was creating. My selection process was based solely on vigorous growth. This meant straight upright and tall trees along with finding plants that would withstand the windswept wide open area I planted them in. These seed selections have taken minus 25F once and has survived even the most brutal cold winter winds with little or no bronzing. It worked! The hollies survived in an area that was not conducive to hollies. It was not a plant that needed protection of a home or other microclimate to grow.
The berry production is very good with these selections of female trees. The female plants seem to outnumber the male plants in my planting for some reason. You would think it would be around 50 percent but it is not. A few trees have super heavy production of berries and others it is more of a small cluster effect. This seed strain is at least one zone colder than many American hollies in the southern portion of their range.
This strain of American holly represents vigorous seedlings easily able to grow in zone 5 and then some. The fast growth of these trees makes them desirable for both nursery production which could lead to Christmas cuttings like winterberry as well as living Christmas trees. The strong growth, foliage and berry production, and large pyramid shape make this an ideal landscape tree into zone 5 with ease. Ultimate height is 60 feet. Trees can live up to 100 years old or more.
To germinate the seeds: The seeds are double and triple dormant and require a two year period to crack and grow. Some portion of the seeds will germinate even in the third year. The seeds have a tough outside coat which require soil to help break. I plant them in flats outside which are covered by window screen which protects pilfering by rodents. In the second year after winter the seeds will germinate. (warm cold warm, warm cold warm) Having the seeds covered with sand will help with germination and the way holly seeds sprouts and grows a top. 1/8 inch covering in sand.
2.5 ounces of seeds. 2500 seeds. Collected in the winter of 2020 and processed in January of 2021.
Micro-propagules are one year old holly plants grown in a propagation tray. They need to be grown for one additional year in containers or outside before moving to their permanent location. Plants are small under one inch in height with 1-2 leaves.
Order comes with 2500 seeds and 50 micro plants 1 inch tall in a dormant condition. OR
'MERRY BERRY' SEED STRAIN: Selected plants with incredible yields of berries far greater than most American hollies. Plants produce large clusters of red berries. These plants were produced from a Wisconsin origin of American holly grown from seed about 25 years ago. The trees tend to be more wide than high and have very dense in foliage with a dense branching habit similar to a pruned scotch pine tree. Combined with their berry production these would make a fabulous wind break tree. I have them on an exposed site at the farm and they never suffer from wind burn.
Several Cultivars INCLUDING "Merry Berry" to be named and released in the future from this seed strain as well as directions for doing rooted cuttings. Unrooted cuttings will be made available during the dormant season.
|Genus & Species||Ilex opaca|
|Height (ft)||40-80 ft. tall and equal width. These were mostly selected for their tall growth.|
|Pollination Requirements||Our plantings are predominantly female despite being randomly selected by vigor alone. But normally you would expect a 50 -50 mix male and female like persimmon. You need both to get fruit set.|
|Soil||Tolerant to dry soil conditions once established. Vigorous in poor sandy soil with low organic matter. Slightly acidic is best but most soils do not need additional acidifiers to make this species grow.|
|Climate||Zone 5-9. Has thrived in zones 5. Will easily grow in the south to huge proportions.|
|Ease of Cultivation||Once seedlings are established in their 3 year they will really grow fast as the tap root goes deep and the lateral root mass increases to the point you can see them close to the surface of the soil. Can be pruned to a central trunk or let go and several trunks will fan out over time. I did little pruning on mine just to make sure the mass of the trees would prevent buck rubs in an area that was laden with deer eating persimmons. Every now and then you would see some browse from deer but very light. The flowering is quite thick in the spring. The growth rate is affected by the rainfall I get during the growing season. You can also speed up the growth using high nitrogen based fertilizers like pelletized chicken manure. Once the plants reach 4 feet fertilizer has less of a noticeable effect.|