Color Comparison of Leaves of Open and Shade Grown Holly


E. H. Tryon

Additional Authors:


September – 1949


Leaves, Shade, Holly, Ilex, opaca, hillculture

In 1944 a project was started by the West Virginia Agricultural Experiment Station to develop and market crops which could be grown on poor agricultural land, particularly on steep slopes. A minimum of cultivation of such crops in order to prevent soil erosion as well as a short rotation to insure a reasonably quick income were needed. The development of these crops was termed “Hillculture”, which implies a type of land use bridging agriculture and forestry.’ American holly (Ilex opaca Ait.) for a Christmas green was the first crop on which the hillculture personnel worked, and marketing this holly was the first step. Investigations showed that only a superior type of holly should be marketed to satisfy the trade. Holly with leaves having poor color, spots caused bv fungi or insects, or abnormal form was not always marketable. These findings therefore led to the decision to start investigations for determining proper methods of producing holly under such conditions that those desirable characteristics influenced by site could be obtained. In selecting a desirable site for the production of holly, the effect of shade from a natural canopy on the type of holly produced was first considered. A study was set up to determine how natural canopies of varying densities affected the development of the holly. The effect of these degrees of density of cover was investigated in relation to such factors as color of leaves, length of leaves, height, growth, size of crown, and number of leaves. The results of the investigation should indicate the desirability of growing holly either in the shade or in the open. This paper will consider only one phase of the investigation, that being the effect of natural canopy densities on the color of holly leaves. The purpose is to show whether holly should be grown in the open or in the shade of other trees in order to produce a more desirable color in the leaves.