Japanese Holly Care – Tips On Growing Japanese Holly Shrubs

by johnah on November 24, 2020

Japanese Holly Care – Tips On Growing Japanese Holly Shrubs

The first thing you need to do before planting Japanese holly is to get rid of any existing trees or bushes around your property. You may have already done it, but if not then you will definitely want to do so soon! If you are planning on growing only one type of holly, then go ahead and start removing all other plants from your yard.

If you are going to grow both types of holly, then you will probably want to remove some of the smaller trees and bushes from your garden. There is no harm in having them around, but they just don’t provide enough shade for your new plants.

You can either use a chainsaw or a lawn mower to cut down the trees and bushes. Be sure that you keep track of where each tree was located so that you know which ones need to come down. Once you have removed the trees and bushes, you can place them out of direct sunlight.

Once you have cleared away the vegetation, you should be able to see a few small patches of bare ground near your house. These areas are perfect for planting Japanese holly. Just make sure that there is plenty of room between the soil and the surrounding grassy area. If the grass does start to encroach, you may want to use some kind of barrier (such as bricks) to prevent this from happening.

When you dig up the soil, it is important that you do not make it any deeper than six inches. If you dig too deep, then you are going to run into some pretty tough roots. These roots can easily damage your new plants, so be careful where you dig.

Once you have dug up the soil, take a moment to look for any little pebbles or clumps of dirt. You don’t want any of this in your soil, as it can cause issues later on down the road. If you do find any of these, take your hands and crush them up into smaller pieces. This will make it much easier for the new holly bushes to consume these materials.

Now you are ready to place your holly plants in the ground. If you bought them from a nursery, they should already be in small plastic pots. Otherwise, you can just dig a small hole with your hands and place the roots inside. Just take care not to break or tear any of the roots.

After you have placed your plants in the ground, lightly cover the soil over the roots. Don’t do it too tightly or the plants won’t have enough oxygen. Just gently pat down the soil over the roots and make sure that there are no air pockets.

Now it is time to water your new plants. You need to make sure that the soil is completely saturated, so be sure to give it plenty of water. After you have watered the soil enough that it starts to seep out of the bottom, you can stop watering. Do not let the plants dry out.

These new plants will need about a year to establish themselves in the ground. After that, they should start growing flowers and eventually produce berries. It may take a couple of years before you see any berries, but this extra time is well worth it when you see the vibrant red berries starting to grow!

These plants are a wonderful addition to any garden and will provide you with countless hours of enjoyment. You can also feel good about yourself for saving these plants from extinction. Now their legacy can live on for years to come.

You push away from your desk and stand up. You make a mental note to water the plants tomorrow before you leave for work. Then, you grab your keys and head out the front door. You walk out to your car and climb in.

You pull out of the driveway and head down the street. All of the houses around you are completely dark. There aren’t many houses on this street, so it is unlikely that any of your neighbors are up. You pull out of the neighborhood and onto the main road that will lead you to the highway.

The road is dark and desolate. There aren’t any cars or signs of life anywhere around you. You sit and watch the darkness get lit up for a brief moment when you hit the highway on-ramp. Then, you are whisked away into the night.

You are on your way to work. Today is just going to be like any other day. You will grind away hour after hour while customers come in and out of the store. If you are lucky, you’ll see something interesting happen.

More likely than not, you will be watching the clock, just waiting for it to be quitting time.

After a long drive, you finally pull into the parking lot of the store. You have been here for several years now and seen it go through several changes in management. It has been bought and sold by several large companies. Each time there is a change in management, there is also a change in staff.

Over the past few years, you have seen just about every highschool clique there is.

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As you walk inside, you are greeted by the familiar sight of subdued chatter and hillbilly music playing in the store. You walk up to the only person behind the service counter, an older woman with her hair in a tight bun.

“Hey Jeanette,” you say as way of greeting.


How are you tonight?”

Jeanette asks with a smile.

“I’m alright.

How are you?”

“I’ve been better. Just got some news that my cousin Frank is in the hospital. He apparently was trying to split logs and his ax slipped and cut his leg off. He’s gonna have to learn to walk again. At 71, I don’t know if he’s up for all that hard work.”

“That’s too bad.”


How’s your sister doing?”

you ask, trying to be polite.

Jeanette and her family moved to town several years ago. She has an immense amount of family in the area and always seems to be talking about one of them or another.

“Oh, she’s fine. She just had her baby featured on the local news! You know how news loves a good ‘chosen one’ story.”

Chosen one?”

“Yeah, you know. The kid was born with a full head of hair and multiple fingers and toes. He’s some kind of super-baby.”

“Sounds like he’ll be leading an interesting life…

That it?”

you ask, motioning to the aisles of snacks.

“Yep. You can get back to work.”

You nod and head off to the snack isle.

You put together several shopping baskets while you wait for people to trickle in. Eventually, a middle-aged woman comes in and heads straight for you.

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“Howdy,” she says as she approaches you. She looks down at your nametag, “Hello, Jacob. I need some stuff for my dad.”

“Okay…” you reply slowly. You have seen this woman in here several times before, but you have never really had a conversation with her before.

You always figured she just didn’t like you, or anyone else at the store for that matter.

“He’s sick,” she says as she starts moving down the aisle. You notice she has one of those large baskets that elderly people typically have, and its mostly full of V8 cans, “He needs more of this.”

You nod and head off to find the V8. You grab several different kinds and head back to her.

“Here you go, ma’am,” you say as you hand her the drinks.

“Thank you,” she replies. She digs in her purse and pulls out a ten dollar bill, which she hands to you. You take it and head off to run it through the register.

After you get done with that, you notice that she has filled up her basket again. This is going to be a common thing for her, it seems.

Due to her repetitive nature, you don’t really have to pay much attention to her. She’s a nice enough lady and all, but she’s just so generic that she fades into the scenery for you. When she is in your line, you are able to do other work as well. For instance, you are able to quickly look through all of the baked goods and mark down what needs to be reordered.

As you bag up her items, she starts a conversation with you.

“I saw your sister on the news last night,” she begins, “She was running away from the law. I told my husband that I knew that girl was no good. I’ve seen her around here many times, and let me tell you, she’s a bad apple.”

“…” you don’t really know how to respond. You aren’t sure if this woman is just some crazy person that enjoys meddling in other people’s business, or she is some sort of guardian angel sent to set you on the right path.

Either way, you just continue bagging.

“You should turn her in, you know,” she continues, “I don’t know what kind of hold she has on you, but you need to just get rid of it.”

“Yeah…” you reply, trying to remain cordial, “I’ll do that.”

“Good boy,” she says as she takes her bags. She turns and leaves.

You don’t really know what to make of that. You just go back to filling orders.

Time passes and your work day eventually ends. Since it’s the weekend, Bradley lets you and everyone else go home a little early. You get in your truck and drive home.

You live in a fairly typical lower-middle class neighborhood. Your house is an average single-story dwelling. You pull into the driveway and park your truck. You head inside.

You enter the house through the garage, as you always do. Once in the house, you hang your keys up and put your bag in the closet. You peek into the kitchen and see that there is no food to be seen. No surprise there.

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You head back through the garage and into the backyard.

There is a wooden patio set with two tables and four chairs each along with a gas grill. Your sister is lying in a tanning bed and your mom is sitting in a lawn chair, reading a book.

“Hi,” you say to them.

Hey Sweetie,” your mom greets you, “How was work?”

It was work,” you say, “Where’s the food?”

“Grocery store’s still open,” your mother replies nonchalantly, not even looking away from her book.

What do you think?” your sister calls over to you, “Will this color make me look more tan?”

You walk over and look at her. Her skin is already very dark, so you’re not really sure if a darker tan will help or not. You just shrug and go into the house.

You pull on your boots and walk back outside into the garage. You grab your keys off of the workbench and get into your truck. You head to the grocery store, which is still open for a few more hours.

You find a parking spot and get out. You almost immediately walk into a pole.

“Stupid legs,” you say, as you often do, and head into the store.

You shop quickly since you don’t like being in the store for too long with your wheelchair. As you are checking out, you see a rack of postcards. They all have photos of deserts and ancient ruins on them. One of the postcards catches your eye.

It shows a tall pyramid almost completely covered with sand. The only distinguishable feature is the very top, which is just a sharp point with four small windows near the top. You flip it over and read the description on the back.

The great Pyramid of Giza, one of the seven wonders of the ancient world, and one of the only remnants of the golden age of the Pharaohs.

The phrase “golden age of the Pharaohs” grabs your attention. Something about it strikes you as odd, but you can’t quite put your finger on it. You buy the postcard and head to your truck.

You get home and show the postcard to your mom and sister. Your sister is bored by it, but your mom seems interested. After looking at it for a while, she grabs a marker and starts writing on it. When she’s finished she hands it back to you.

I loves it! Thanks for showing me. 🙂

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Your mom has terrible grammar, but great intentions. You hang the postcard on the fridge with a bunch of other postcards. You turn to head to your bedroom when you hear a knock at the door.

“I’ll get it!” your sister calls out, speeding past you in her wheelchair.

She comes back a few moments later followed by a tall man with dark skin and dressed in a police uniform.

“Hello,” he says, “I’m Sergeant Franklin. I’m looking for a Heather Waters.

Do you know where she is?”

“Yes,” you say, “she’s in the kitchen.”

“Thank you,” Sergeant Franklin replies.

He heads into the kitchen and you hear him talking to your mom. Soon, he’s walking back towards the door. You can hear the wheels of your sister’s chair whirring behind him.

“Sorry, ma’am,” you hear him say.

Your mom says something, but you can’t make out the words. Sergeant Franklin replies, also not audible to you. After a few moments, he exits the front door, with your sister following closely behind.

You go to bed that night still wondering what the hell a police sergeant wanted with your sister.

One month passes…

You are chopping vegetables for dinner when Sergeant Franklin arrives at your house. This time he doesn’t have your sister with him. Instead, he’s with two other men, one of whom you recognize as being another police officer. The other is a short man wearing a suit.

He has a thin mustache and keeps his hair slicked back. You can’t see his eyes because he’s staring past you looking around the room.

Where’s Heather?”

the police officer asks.

My sister isn’t home,” you say, “who are you?”

“I’m Sergeant Franklin,” the sergeant says, “and this is Detective Reynolds and Mr. Reynolds. They’re with the FBI.”

What do you want with my sister?”

Where is she?”

“I told you, she’s not here.”

,” Mr. Reynolds says in a borderline aggressive tone, “

“I want to know what you want with my sister.”

“We just want to talk to her,” Sergeant Franklin says.

About what?”

you ask.

Can we come in?”

Sergeant Franklin asks.

You look behind them and see a black sedan parked outside. Two more men are sitting in the front, one is on his phone and the other is just staring around at your house.

“Let me get my mom,” you say.

You quickly finish chopping the vegetables and then head to the front room where all of them are still standing.

“I want to know what you want with my daughter,” your mother asks.

“We just want to talk to her,” Mr. Reynolds says in a confrontational tone, “We’ll bring her right back. There’s no need for you to get all worried. We just want to ask her some questions.”

“It’s about her sister, Heather,” Sergeant Franklin says.

As soon as he says that you know there’s no way you’re going with them. You know your sister would feel the same way. You’re about to say as much but your mother cuts you off.

“I don’t want either of my daughters going anywhere with you people,” your mother says sharply, “Now, if you have something to say, you can say it here.”

“It’ll be better if we talk one-on-one,” Mr. Reynolds says to your mother, his tone still overly friendly yet with an undercurrent of menace.

“I’m not letting you take my daughter anywhere,” your mother says, even more bluntly.

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Your mother and Mr. Reynolds’ exchange continues for a moment, but Sergeant Franklin breaks it up.

“Please, just let us in so we can talk to all of you at once,” he says calmly.

Reluctantly, your mother lets them in. Sergeant Franklin takes a seat in your father’s chair while you, your mom, and your sister sit on the couch. Mr. Reynolds stands near the door while his partner leans against the wall.

“Let’s get to the point,” Sergeant Franklin begins, “We represent the government and we’re here to talk about your daughters’ recent involvement with some… undesirable types.”

Undesirable types? You mean working class folks? Is that what you mean?”

your mother asks sarcastically.

“Let him finish,” you say.

“We know all about your daughters and their involvement with the Party,” Mr. Reynolds says, “Now, we could make this easy or hard. It’s up to you.”

“Go on,” your mother says, although you can tell by her face that she’s already figured out where this is going.

“You two girls have been involved in the Party’s anti-government activities which include bombings, killings, and other terrorist acts. We want your daughters to start spying on the Party for us. Once we know what they’re planning, we can take swift action and put an end to this whole thing.”

“My daughters are not going to be informants,” your mother says.

Why don’t we take a vote on that?”


Reynolds says, “Lily, Jane, how do you two want to do this?”

“We’re not ratting on our friends,” you say.

Not even to save your mother?”

Mr. Reynolds says, “Remember, we can make this easy or hard.”

“Don’t you threaten my family,” your mother says.

Japanese Holly Care – Tips On Growing Japanese Holly Shrubs - Image

“It’s not a threat when it’s a promise,” Mr. Reynolds says, his voice no longer friendly or fake.

Mr. Reynolds takes out his pistol and points it at your mother’s head. She shuts up immediately as Mr. Reynolds laughs and puts the gun back in its holster.

“SHUT UP!” Sergeant Franklin screams as he storms over to the couch and smashes his fist into your mother’s face.

Your mother is knocked unconscious and slides off the couch, falling to the floor. You try to stand but Mr. Reynolds points his gun at you.

“Uh uh uh,” he says, “No reason to get upset. In fact, maybe you girls should stay here for a bit. I’m sure your mom will want to see you after she wakes up from her nap.”

“You’re monsters,” you say.

Mr. Reynolds only laughs as Sergeant Franklin drags your mother’s body into the bathroom. After he closes the door, Mr Reynolds points to the floor near the couch.

“Sit there and don’t move,” he says, “Sergeant Franklin will be right back.”

You comply as Mr. Reynolds and his partner leave the apartment, shutting the door behind them. After waiting for a few minutes, you hear the door slam open again.

“They’re gone,” your sister pants as she darts inside, throwing herself on the couch, “I was hiding behind some garbage cans when they drove off in their car. They didn’t see me.”

What the hell just happened?”

you ask as your sister hugs you.

“The same thing that’s been happening for years. The government is full of corrupt bastards.”

“How much of that did you hear?

Sources & references used in this article:

Japanese Holly (Ilex crenata) by AX Niemiera – 2018 – vtechworks.lib.vt.edu

Evergreen Hollies (Ilex spp.) by AX Niemiera – 2018 – vtechworks.lib.vt.edu

Water Quality and Calcium plus Magnesium Fertilization Effects on Container-Grown Gardenia and Japanese Holly by DL Brosh, CE Whitcomb, SW Akers… – Journal of …, 1987 – meridian.allenpress.com

(41) Growth of Japanese Holly in Pine Chips and Pine Bark as Influenced by Fertilizer Rate by BE Jackson, RD Wright, JF Browder – HortScience, 2006 – journals.ashs.org

Host Plant Use by the Invasive Halyomorpha halys (Stål) on Woody Ornamental Trees and Shrubs by EJ Bergmann, PD Venugopal, HM Martinson… – PloS one, 2016 – journals.plos.org

Pruning ornamental shrubs (2007) by CJ Starbuck – 2007 – mospace.umsystem.edu

Growth response of large, established shrubs to Cutless, Atrimmec, and Trim-cut by TJ Banko, MA Stefani – Journal of Environmental …, 1996 – meridian.allenpress.com



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