Satyr Hill American Holly Tree

Growth Facts

Satyr Hill American Holly

Ilex opaca 'Satyr Hill'
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Deck the halls (and your garden) with boughs of Holly! The Satyr Hill American Holly will bring holiday cheer to your landscape in fall and winter with its bright red berries and all year long with its glossy evergreen leaves. These are the branches used in wreath-making, and you’ll have your own private supply to snip from. This noble native tree is at home in informal gardens, but with some clipping to accentuate and refine its natural pyramidal shape, it’s a knockout in formal landscapes as well. Use it as a strong focal point or make it part of a neighbor-friendly privacy screen.

Growth Facts

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The Story

English Holly leaves and berries have long been symbols of everlasting life and Christmas cheer in Europe, because they bring vibrant color to the dead of winter. When settlers in America discovered that there was a native Holly Tree here that could fulfill the same role, they were overjoyed. George Washington was a big fan of American Holly and planted many at Mt. Vernon, seven of which survived into the 21st century. Satyr Hill was introduced as a superior selection of American Holly in 1970 by Stewart McLean of Towson, Maryland. In 2003, the Holly Society of America named Satyr Hill their “Holly of the Year.”

The Details

Plant Satyr Hill American Holly near a window, so you can watch the songbirds enjoy the berries you have provided. In most cases, the brilliant red fruits will persist all winter, and only in early spring will the birds—robins especially—come to feast. You will want to monitor your tree for when that day comes!

How to Grow

Satyr Hill American Holly is a tree that needs proper siting and care in order to really thrive. It enjoys light, acid soils that drain well, but it never wants to dry out completely. On the other hand, it won’t tolerate “wet feet.” Be prepared to irrigate, but don’t overdo it, and mulch well. As for exposure, a site in part shade is ideal, but full sun is acceptable. Protection from frigid winter winds is probably of even greater importance, so place the tree where prevailing winds are blocked by buildings or other trees. To pollinate the flowers and produce abundant fruit, there must be a male American Holly nearby, such as Jersey Knight.

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Satyr Hill American Holly Tree