Elegant Standard Trees

Standard trees make a bold statement in the garden but can be expensive to buy, but with a little patience and the right care you can create your own, as long as the plant has a strong lead shoot.

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Tree Shaped HollyEnlarge Photo+Shrink Photo-DK - How to Grow Practically Everything © 2010 Dorling Kindersley Limited Variegated holly, shaped into a standard tree, brings strong color, structure and style to any mixed planting or group of containers.

When to Start: Autumn
At Its Best: All year round
Time to Complete: Initial pruning, 30 minutes

Materials Needed:

  • a variegated holly, such as Ilex x altaclerensis ‘Golden King’ used here
  • large container
  • a stake
  • twine
  • clippers

Assess the Plant

Look at the plant from all angles before pruning. Decide how long you want the clean stem to be and what growth you are going to leave to make up the lollipop top.

View Plants From All Angles Before PruningEnlarge Photo+Shrink Photo-DK - How to Grow Practically Everything © 2010 Dorling Kindersley Limited

Remove Side Shoots

Prune the lowest side shoots from the main stem, but don’t remove all of them at once because they help pull sap up the plant. Once the plant has a round head, you can cut them all off.

Remove Side ShootsEnlarge Photo+Shrink Photo-DK - How to Grow Practically Everything © 2010 Dorling Kindersley Limited

Tie and Shape

Shorten the growth left at the top of the plant slightly to encourage it to bush out and form a rounded head. Push a stake into the soil to support the main stem, which will be quite weak at this early stage; tie securely in several places. Trim the head to shape each year.

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Excerpted from How to Grow Practically Everything

© 2010 Dorling Kindersley Limited

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