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Hybrid hollies 

THE COLD, BARE WINTER can sometimes bring views we would rather not see in our landscapes. Most often when we think of screening off those views, we choose evergreen plants. 

The trick can be finding one that won’t be too small or grow too big. Keep in mind many evergreens may look small in the garden center. Be sure to read the tag or ask how large they grow before purchasing and planting. That cute little 3 gallon potted Norway spruce can grow 70 feet tall and 35 feet wide. Do you have that much room? 

If you don’t have a lot of space, consider something like the beautiful and popular hybrid hollies, Oakleaf and Oakland (Ilex x ‘Magland’). These hollies are relatively compact, make excellent dense screens and grow only 12 to 20 feet tall and 8 to 10 feet wide, depending on location. 

One reason they are so popular is because of their natural shape. They don’t need much pruning or shaping. Being naturally narrow, upright and pyramidal makes them appropriate for screening as well as flanking the corners of your house or front door, or just planted elegantly as a stately (but smaller) evergreen. 

The names Oakland and Oakleaf come from the shape of the plants’ leaves, which are shiny, bright green and oak shaped. The leaves are also spiny, so take that into consideration before planting one. Plant in full sun to part shade in a moist, but well-drained location. 

The stately shape and foliage of these hollies not only look beautiful on a cold winter day but also provide great protection for the birds in winter. 

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