Maintaining Your Boxwood Shrubs
When it comes to hedging, boxwood shrubs are one of the most popular choices in landscaping. The dense, attractive foliage makes it an ideal species for hedges. Boxwoods will grow well in full sun areas, but also benefit from partial shade. Well-drained soils that are moderately acidic are best for growing. You can grow the shrub in containers or outdoors. Following are some tips to help you maintain your boxwoods.
Boxwoods don't require much watering once they are well established. Apply water frequently in the early growing phase, during dry weather conditions and in the late fall before the ground freezes for winter. Avoid over-watering, as this will stress the plants. Boxwoods have shallow roots and are easily overwhelmed if given too much water, as it will create drenched soils. Roots will experience difficulties in breathing and may suffer from suffocation.
Mulching helps to maintain cool soil conditions, which the boxwood prefers. Apply about 4 inches of mulch in the summer. You can increase this to 6 inches during the winter. Chopped leaves or wood chips are ideal to use for mulch. Avoid using whole leaves for mulch, as they obstruct water from soaking into the soil. Don't place the mulch too closely to the stem, as it will encourage rodents and stem rot. Mulch is helpful in retaining soil moisture and also protects the shallow roots.
Boxwood is a heavy feeder shrub. Sprinkle a slow-release granular fertilizer onto the soil around the boxwood once a year, preferably in the spring. This will support proper growth and encourage dense foliage. Your shrubs are also less likely to be attacked by infections and diseases if you give them fertilizer regularly. You may want to give your boxwoods growth activators to help them become more resilient. This will support them in developing drought-resistant, insect-resistant and disease-resistant properties.
Pruning your boxwood shrubs will encourage healthy growth and keep them looking attractive. Boxwoods are easily trimmed to whatever shape you desire. If you want to encourage more growth, it's best to trim off the leading growth. This will increase the production of new branches. To encourage growth of more foliage you need to trim a bit of the previous year's branches. Always be vigilant for dead branches or parts that may be at the center. If left to accumulate, they can precipitate fungal infections which will spread to the rest of the shrub.
Boxwood shrubs can tolerate normal winds, but some protection is necessary when the harsh winter winds manifest. The winter sun may also cause sun scalding, which will ruin the appearance of your boxwoods. It's best to erect a screen around the shrubs. You can also cover them with burlap material or evergreen boughs. Make sure you allow them adequate space to enable comfortable breathing and good air circulation.