Foster holly--time to grow back from pruning?

MonkeylegMay 5, 2013

When we moved into this house, the previous owners had done a nice topiary job on two foster holly trees at the front of the house. Each was about 8 feet tall, and had three neatly-trimmed balls of leaves at the bottom, the middle and the top.

I was able to keep up with them and keep them looking good. Then, in a drought in 2011, I didn't water them enough. Half of each of the trees got dry enough that the branches were dead.

The local university outreach office suggested I cut the trees all the way back to the trunks, and let them grow out again. This is now the second summer, and they're still not at a point where I can shape them.

Does anyone here have experience with these trees? Do they take years before they're full enough to shape? I've considered taking them out and replacing them with something faster-growing, but maybe I just need to be patient.

Thanks for any replies.

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