Q. Dear Neil: You have described Oakland hollies and they sound like just what I need for privacy. How well do they tolerate rocky soils, and when should they be planted?

A. I’ll take the easy question first. Since they’re always sold in containers with all their roots intact, Oakland hollies can be planted 12 months a year. Be forewarned, however, that no matter when you plant them you need to make provisions to water them deeply by hand every two or three days from mid-spring into mid- or late fall. That means you will water them with a water hose with a water wand and bubbler (not bubbler heads on a drip irrigation line). Hollies do not wilt when they are dry. They have subtle changes in color in their leaves and before people realize it, they have waited too long.

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