The Twelve Days of a Green Christmas – Third Day

On the third day of Christmas my green friend gave to me…three holly trees…two vent fans…and a new doorbell!

Thanks for joining me on this third day of a green Christmas! As many of you are aware Hurricane Matthew meandered up the east coast of Florida a couple months ago leaving behind a gnarled mess of fallen trees and branches in its’ path. The number of decades’ old trees that blocked our roads and leaned seriously against our houses was staggering! The clean-up still continues 2 months later!  As so many others, I lost most of my landscape due to winds and rising water. Since then I have been contemplating a new direction for a reinstalled landscape.  One thing I learned was how the water flowed through my yard giving me the opportunity to design a couple rain gardens in those areas.  In my conversations with my green friend I mentioned how I wanted to provide a better wildlife habitat for birds and bees in the winter months as well as a butterfly habitat.

The three holly trees I received today will begin to take my yard in its’ new direction.  These holly trees aren’t the run of the mill holly trees but female weeping yaupon holly trees!  I have always admired their whimsical shape and beautiful red or orange translucent berry clusters!  With so many trees lost around my house I want to attract birds into my front and back yards and the berries on these three female holly trees will certainly draw them!

Mature Weeping Yaupon Holly Tree Photo Credit: Ed Gilman, from U of F IFAS publication

Weeping yaupon hollies or Ilex vomitoria are native trees/shrubs, love the sun, are salt and drought-tolerant and can thrive in many different soil conditions.  With these requirements I shouldn’t have much trouble deciding where to plant them in my sandy yard.  They thrive in zones 7A-9B which makes them well suited for northern and central Florida where these zones are located.  I like the fact they are fairly disease and pest resistant which will minimize their care.  A mature weeping yaupon typically grows 10-15′ tall with a spread of 10-20′ so I want to be sure not to plant them too close to my house or to each other.

You many not be familiar with planting a yaupon holly so here is the recommended way to plant them from University of Florida’s IFAS. Plant your weeping yaupon holly using the same techniques you’d use to plant any shrub or tree. Dig a hole that is at least one-and-a-half times as wide as the root ball but slightly shallower. Then remove any roots that are circling around the inside of the pot or around the trunk, and shave off the outer layer of the root ball using a sharp knife.

Once you place the holly into the planting hole, the top of the root ball should sit about an inch above the surrounding soil. Fill in around the root ball with the remaining soil. Apply mulch starting at the edge of the root ball and extending outwards, and water the root ball two to three times each week for the first year.  After the first year you should not need to worry about regular watering.

So, on this third day of a green Christmas I will be heading into my yard. I need to decide where I shall plant my 3 weeping yaupon holly trees in the beginning phase of my new landscape.

If this is the first post you have read of my green rendition of the Twelve Days of a Christmas and you can’t figure out what the heck I am writing about or why I’m writing about the Twelve Days after Christmas, click here to read how this all began. I hope you join me tomorrow for the Fourth Day of a Green Christmas!


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