How to Prune a Boxwood

Boxwoods are one of the most common shrubs in the American landscape. They are known for their dense, evergreen foliage and ability to be shaped into topiary forms.

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Pruning Basics

Pruning is a horticultural and silvicultural practice consisting of the selective removal of certain parts of a plant, such as branches, buds, or roots.

Timing

To ensure a healthy plant and bountiful bloom, it’s important to prune at the right time. For most trees, the best time to prune is in late winter or early spring, before new growth begins. This ensures that the tree won’t be stressed by the loss of leaves, and that any wounds will have time to heal before hot weather arrives.

There are some exceptions, however. For instance, flowering trees and shrubs are best pruned immediately after they finish blooming. Pruning at this time will encourage new growth and ensure that flowers will appear on the new wood. Evergreens such as boxwoods can be pruned any time of year except late summer, when new growth is starting to harden off for winter.

Tools

The tools you need for pruning boxwood are rather simple. A good, sharp pair of pruning shears is the most important tool. It’s also helpful to have a pruning saw on hand for larger branches. A small hand pruner is also useful for smaller branches and twigs. You’ll also need a step ladder if you can’t reach the branches you need to prune.

The Three D’s

Pruning a Boxwood may seem like a daunting task, but it’s really quite simple. The key is to follow the three D’s: Dead, Damaged, and Diseased. Start by removing any dead or damaged branches. Then, remove any diseased branches. Finally, cut back any remaining branches to the desired size.

Dead

Cut away any dead wood at the base of the plant. This will help stimulate new growth and keep the plant healthy.

Diseased

Diseased wood will be weak, spongy or discolored. It should be removed from the plant to allow the healthy wood to grow. Diseased wood can be caused by several things, including pests, disease and damage from harsh weather conditions.

##Heading: Dead
##Expansion:
Dead wood will be dry, brittle and may be discolored. It should be removed from the plant to allow the healthy wood to grow. Dead wood can be caused by several things, including pests, disease and damage from harsh weather conditions.

##Heading: Damaged
##Expansion:
Damaged wood will be weak, spongy or discolored. It should be removed from the plant to allow the healthy wood to grow. Damaged wood can be caused by several things, including pests, disease and damage from harsh weather conditions.

Damaged

Damaged wood should be removed as soon as possible so that the plant can focus its energy on healing the wound and growing new, healthy wood. Use sharp, clean pruning shears to make clean cuts just above a leaf node or lateral branch. Avoid leaving a stub, which will take longer to heal.

Shaping

Pruning is a horticultural and landscaping practice consisting of the selective removal of parts of a plant, such as branches, buds, or roots.

Hedges

Clipping boxwoods into hedges and other geometric shapes is a time-honored tradition in Europe, and it has been practiced in this country since colonial times. The compact evergreen shrubs are easy to grow and maintain, and they can be sheared into a wide variety of shapes.

Boxwood hedges make an attractive backdrop for perennial borders or foundation plantings, and they can also be used to create impenetrable barriers, define outdoor living spaces, or add privacy to patios and decks.

Topiary

Topiary is the art of training live plants by clipping the foliage into decorative shapes. The term originates from the Latin word “topiarius,” which referred to a landscape gardener. Plants suitable for topiary include boxwood, myrtle, bay laurel, holly and yew.

Topiary can be formal or informal. A formal topiary is characterized by geometric shapes such as spheres, cones, cubes or pyramids. Informal topiary is characterized by softer shapes such as animals or free-flowing forms. There are many ways to shape a plant into a topiary. The most common method is to use wire cages or frames to train the plant into the desired shape.

If you want to create a topiary, start by choosing a plant that can be easily shaped. Boxwood is a good choice for beginners because it responds well to pruning and can be shaped into almost any form. To create a sphere, start by trimming the sides of the plant evenly so that they are about 6 inches shorter than the center of the plant. Then, trim the top of the plant so that it is about 2 inches shorter than the sides. Work your way around the plant, trimming evenly until you have created a sphere shape.

Aftercare

Boxwood shrubs are known for their dense, evergreen foliage and ability to be shaped into topiary forms. They are popular landscape plants in the U.S. However, if they are not pruned properly, they can become overgrown and untidy. Let’s take a look at how to prune a boxwood shrub.

Watering

Water your new boxwood deeply and slowly so the water saturates the root ball and encourage deep root growth. For the first year, water regularly to keep the soil moist, but not soggy. After the first year, you can back off on watering unless there are prolonged periods of drought. Boxwoods are relatively drought-tolerant once they are established.

Fertilizing

Fertilizing is an important part of aftercare for newly planted boxwoods. Fertilize in early spring before new growth begins, using a slow-release fertilizer specific for evergreens. Follow the package directions for application rates.

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