Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Maintenance and Care for your Boxwood

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Follow our tips to keep your plants healthy and happy. A healthy, green boxwood looks about as dignified as a plant can be and adds an air of formality and permanence to the landscape

 
 

Pruning

This shrub has a beautiful darker shade of green foliage, so when pruned properly it is quite stunning in appearance.  Prune to remove diseased, injured, dying, or dead branches. Pruning can be done to shape plants and increase density any time of the year except six weeks before the average date of the first frost in the fall.  Most boxwood are slow to respond to severe pruning. If severe pruning must be undertaken, do so in late winter to early spring. It may take the plant years to recover. A regular program of light to moderate pruning is preferred.

1. Bury one end of a garden pole at either end of the shrub. They should be taller than the boxwood. 

2. Tie a string at each pole indicating the height that the boxwood shrub should be. 

3. Cut across the top with pruning sheers using the string as a guideline. 

4. Cut the front and then the sides so they are even. 

5. It is important to cut the bottom of the shrub slightly wider than the top so they can receive sunlight as well. 

6. Use a leaf rake and clean away the debris.


Mulching

Boxwood are shallow rooted and grow poorly in hot, dry soils. To maintain vigorous plants, homeowners should add 2 to 3 inches of mulch over the soil surface. Suitable materials for mulching are pine needles, bark mulch, or wood chips. Do not place black plastic under the mulch. The mulch should extend from the plant stem outward to at least 12 inches beyond the foliage canopy.

Fertilization

A single annual application of fertilizer prior to new shoot growth is satisfactory for good plant growth. The initial fertilizer application should be made in early spring before plant shoot growth starts. In areas where needed, the second application should be made in late June or early July. Avoid applying any fertilizer to boxwood in late summer since it can force late, tender growth that is extremely susceptible to frost damage.

The recommended amount of fertilizer should always be distributed uniformly over the planting area. Care must be taken to keep fertilizers off the plant leaves; never spread fertilizers closer than 6 inches to the plant stem. After fertilizing, plant foliage should be washed down with water, and the soil should be thoroughly irrigated.
 

Watering

Newly planted boxwood must be watered during the first growing season whenever necessary to keep the soil from drying out around the roots. Frequent and light watering is often detrimental. Let the hose run slowly so that the water can soak completely into the root zone (6 to 8 inches deep). Mulching helps conserve soil moisture.

Established boxwood should be thoroughly watered at intervals during spring and early summer if rainfall is deficient (less than 1 inch per week). Plants that suffer from lack of moisture in spring and summer may produce abundant, late growth if fall rains are heavy, and the new wood may be immature when freezing weather arrives.

If there is a deficiency of fall rain, soak the ground just prior to freezing weather. Broad-leaved plants like boxwood lose water through their leaves during winter. Having an adequate supply may help reduce winter browning of foliage. Water during the winter months if the ground becomes extremely dry.

Cultivation

Avoid digging around boxwoods as their roots are shallow, and plants can be severely weakened or killed by too much cultivation. Use mulch to control weeds. Boxwoods used as edging for flower beds are easily injured by cultivation of the flower bed area. Sometimes, only a portion of the planting will show injury; this can be traced to severed roots.