Guide to the Holiday Harvest

Pruning these evergreens provides much needed leaves and berries for indoor decorating.
Steve Bender

Most gardeners think of pruning as a loathsome chore, at least for 11 months of the year. But it's a different story in December. Trimming trees and shrubs provides coveted leaves and berries for indoor decorations.

By far the best evergreens for decorating, American, Burford, English, Foster #2, Nellie R. Stevens, and Savannah hollies offer glossy, green foliage and bright red berries. (Yaupon is an exception. Its berries drop soon after cutting and make a mess.)

Clip branches of any length to shape up the plant. The remaining branch will sprout again from the point of the cuts. Immerse cut branches in water for 24 hours to condition. Discard them when berries start dropping.