Do not top them. Do any "structural" pruning only in the Spring, otherwise you'll have to look all Winter long at the bare stumps of the limbs you just pruned. Sky Pencil Holly, ilex crenata ‘Sky Pencil’, is a narrow, columnar holly that grows just 2 to 3 feet wide and up to 8 feet tall. The growth habit of Sky Pencil Holly is what really sets this Holly cultivar apart from all the others. If you're growing 'Sky Pencil' at the front of a bed, it could erupt from a mound of variegated palm sedge, Carex muskingumensis 'Oehme'. This form of Japanese Holly only grows to about a metre and a half tall. You may have to replace them every 3 to 4 years to keep them so short. They come in handy in places where you don’t have room for the width of bushier plants. 'Sky Pencil' will, nearly always, be container-grown, and establishes easily at any size available. Established plants need watering only during dry spells. In colder Zone 6 and into Zone 5, prune only in early Spring, before growth begins; you'll cut off any Winter kill, as well as give the shrubs the most time to produce new growth and harden it off before the next Winter. I have a 14-inch wide area between foundation wall ... Q. If the soil can be acid and humus-rich—like you'd provide for your best rhododendrons and azaleas—so much the better. Place the plant in the hole with the top of the root ball level with or slightly higher than the surrounding soil. You can actually rejuvenate your soil by getting the bags of leaves thrown away by neighbors, getting them shredded (preferable) and start building up your soil by composting. This allows you to use them as architectural plants to frame a door or entryway or on decks and patios. Dig the planting hole as deep as the root ball and two to three times wider. 'Sky Pencil' brings such height that you've got even more choices: bananas, elephant ears, oakleaf hydrangeas, hostas, rhododendrons. It's naturally full right to the base, so can be sited right at the front of plantings. Why Fast-Growing-Trees.com is Better. The small glossy oval leaves remain dark green throughout the winter. Extending hardiness more and more reliably to the cold end of Zone 5 has long been a priority, and there are more than a few cultivars already that are, indeed, Zone 5. If your hedge is eight feet tall, you won't need to get the ten-foot lengths of rebar cut. See "How to handle it: Another option—or two!" And of course, don't plant anything close to a water line or sewer pipe. The more smoothly the hedge of 'Sky Pencil' slopes inward from top to bottom, the fewer the opportunities for snow to accumulate on the sides. Sign up for twice-monthly eNews, plus notification of new posts: New England Home Design Blog, Winter 2015, The Washington Post — "Can a Garden be Too Bee-Friendly? They will stay narrow and grow together providing a cool looking hedge. Ilex crenata 'Sky Pencil' is an 8- to 10-foot tall evergreen holly that grows like a narrow exclamation mark only 12 to 18 inches across. Ilex crenata is native to Japan; 'Sky Pencil' is native to Japan also, where it was discovered in the wild. As long as you avoid the most extreme temperatures during the year, your boxwoods will be fine. Depending on where you look it up, 'Sky Pencil' is listed as hardy to Zone 6/7, which would make it marginal in a pot where you are. However, your boxwoods will also do well if you plant them around March or April. Open pollinated seed was collected from the seed (female) parent, Ilex crenata 'Sky Pencil' (unpatented). In the garden, hollies are a striking choice that provide year-round interest and serve as great foundation plantings or hedges. Q. Root System For Sky Pencil Hollies - How far does the root system extend for sky pencil hollies? In Zone 7 and warmer, as a formal exclamation point in year-round containers. Find more gardening information on Gardening Know How: Keep up to date with all that's happening in and around the garden. Space 3 to 4 feet apart. Any decent soil, in full sun to light shade. If you choose to prune them, do so in winter while the plants are dormant. Dense and rigid, but not with a "tight" surface. If you plan to shear your hollies, plant them on 5' centers and prune them back on an annual basis. Ilex crenata habit can be broad and flat-topped, narrow and upright, vase-shaped, wide and mounding, or fairly round. Perfect for a tight screening around garbage containers or ac units. Mulch is always appreciated, especially to lessen freeze-thaw temperature swings in the Winter. Space multiple plants 5 to 25 feet apart, depending on the mature size. These Norway Spruce were planted too far apart from each other 25 or 30 years ago and they never formed a privacy screen. Sky Pencil Japanese Holly is a dense multi-stemmed evergreen shrub with a narrowly upright and columnar growth habit. For a formal hedge, plant 2 ½ to 3 feet apart, measure from the center of each plant. Or how about an entire grove of 'Sky Pencil' rocketing upward from a large bed of Miscanthus 'Morning Light' or Andropogon gerardii? Roots shouldn't be allowed to dry so apply water if you're taking a break before transplanting the shrub. If you prune in the Fall, the shrub won't get the extra bit of Winter protection that would be provided to the plants' interior by the foliage and small branches you'll be pruning off the exterior. Plant in well drained soil and water regularly to establish and then weekly or more often during periods of drought or extreme heat. If you are planting a row or border of Sky Pencil Holly, allow 2-3 feet between bushes. They are grown primarily for their interesting shape and make perfect container gardens. And very few shrubs can give you this kind of height without encroaching on nearby plants. Its relatively fine texture sets it apart from other landscape plants with less refined foliage. ... Sky Pencil Holly Tree. Unlike, say, boxwood, whose foliage crowds the outer extent of growth, creating a uniform "paving" of foliage and leaving a largely leafless and open-branched interior, Ilex crenata always maintains a deeper texture. With pruning, you can maintain them at a height of 6 feet (1.8 m.) and a width of just 12 inches (30 cm.). Berries are black and not showy, except in a very few cultivars with yellow or white berries. 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