We have a lot of self seeded holly bushes from established trees. Many are very straggly, almost like brambles with a ticket of very long, sparse branches. I didn't even know hollies grew in this manner!

Can I shape these bushes, which are approximately human height, or one they go wild am I better to replace them?

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  • Hollies don't usually grow as you describe unless they are in a dark and/or crowded space... a photo or three would be helpful – Bamboo Apr 30 '18 at 22:20
  • They are colonising a river and the bottom of our garden. It's really hard to get a good photo of tangled bushes but I'll try. – Mr. Boy Apr 30 '18 at 22:22
  • It would just be useful to see the situation – Bamboo Apr 30 '18 at 22:27

Bit of a mess, isn't it, that area... the trouble is they're probably Ilex aquifolium, and they get very large indeed. Those saplings are way too close to one another for each one to be shaped in any way, really. I suggest you either take some out to make more space between them and prune the remainder back (if you don't mind the thought of 12-15 feet high dark leaves all year), or alternatively, keep them all at a certain height to create more of a wild hedge appearance. Either that or remove them altogether, info on the plant here https://www.rhs.org.uk/Plants/9087/Ilex-aquifolium/Details

Whatever you decide to do, protective clothing and safety glasses are a must...

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