This section is from "The Horticulturist, And Journal Of Rural Art And Rural Taste", by P. Barry, A. J. Downing, J. Jay Smith, Peter B. Mead, F. W. Woodward, Henry T. Williams. Also available from Amazon: Horticulturist and Journal of Rural Art and Rural Taste.
The Horticulturist, of late, has been bringing into public notice one of our brightest and most attractive evergreens, our own holly; with its living green leaves contrasted with its red berries, and, at times, when snow mantles the earth, and the red peeps from under the white cover, what can be prettier!
I have devoted particular attention for some years to this tree. I obtained them from the flat portions of our State, adjacent to the Chesapeake. I removed in March, six years since, half a dozen without any particular care, not even covering the roots, a day elapsing from the time they were dug until they were set in a nursery, on the north side of the barn, where but little sun reached them. All of these died save one of the finest looking, which was removed in a year to its present position on the lawn, where it is much admired, particularly at this season, as it luckily is a bearer of berries. The following autumn, with four boxes, about two feet square, I went into the woods and transplanted four fine hollies, one into each box. Towards spring two died, and in April I carefully took the sides out of the boxes and set out the remaining two, with the earth adhering, on the lawn; one died in the summer, the other still lives and flourishes, though not a berry bearer. Again in August I had a dozen young plants, from six to twelve inches in height, taken from the wood and planted at once, closely in a box.
As soon as received, they were planted in the nursery, well watered and mulched; here they remained for three years, and last September six were removed, with balls of earth, and set out on the lawn. I have still four small ones in the nursery, losing only two of the lot; these young plants have grown well for hollies.
In the month of June of last year, I selected ten fine trees, from four to seven feet high, growing on the edge of a thick pine forest, and after trimming the branches where they were out of shape, had the lateral and tap roots carefully cut with a sharp spade, and left the trees just as they stood, intending to remove them last fall, but was prevented from doing so, and will take them up in the spring; by which time, two years having elapsed, they will have formed a mass of fibrous roots, to which the soil will attach itself whilst they are being moved. On examining them a year after they had been thus severely dealt with, I found but one had died. This would appear to be the best method to pursue in moving this tree.
I will hereafter give you my experience with reference to these. Of course, it is very advisable to select such trees for removal from the forest, as have been most exposed to the sun.
I have always been successful with my rose and heliotrope cuttings, made in July and August. They are set in boxes partially filled with light soil, with an inch and a half of fine sand oyer the earth - the cuttings ore pushed into the sand until they reach the dirt; they are then placed in the shade and well watered; this is repeated whenever the top of the sand begins to look dry, and not before. The cuttings should not be set too closely together.
Many gardeners having turned their attention to raising the Holly of late, the following instructions regarding the proper treatment may be acceptable. We have no native evergreen to compare with this tree. It is difficult to raise and to remove, and is of rather slow growth, but this should be no discouragement; every one should possess the Holly.
First of all, gather the seeds just before Christmas. If you have more than a bushel of berries, mix with them an equal quantity of sand, and bury them, or cover them in a heap as you would a heap of potatoes; if less than a bushel, put them in a box with sand, and bury the box, and at the end of the following October sow them, sand and all, and cover them half an inch deep. The best soil to sow them in, is a piece of fresh ground which was trenched in the spring, and planted with potatoes. Next spring, or the following, the seedlings will appear, and, to do them justice, they should be watered, in dry weather, during the first two summers. At the end of two years (in October, or earlier), transplant them into a newly trenched bed or piece of ground, at six inches apart, water as before, and, at the end of four years, transplant them again, eighteen inches apart, in rows, and six inches leaf from leaf in the row, and water at least next summer. At the end of six years, take them all up, and trim their roots. Here is the turning point and grand secret of getting Holly fences.
The plants, being now root pruned, must have lots of rotten dung, as for an onion bed, in their new quarters, and room enough to leave twelve inches clear from leaf to leaf between the rows, and six or eight inches from leaf to leaf in the row. Here let them remain three years, when they are ready to plant out in a hedge; but some prefer having the spade " run down" on each side of the rows, and leaving them another season. The site of the hedge should be trenched four feet wide and three or four feet deep the winter before; then planted with potatoes; and, as soon as the potatoes are up, down with the Hollies. If you purchase, buy four-year seedlings, and do the rest at home.