How To Prune Boxwood

Pruning boxwood

Whether it is dark green hedges, lush green spheres or skilfully shaped to create a chicken, rabbit or even a horse; evergreen boxwood is probably the most preferred garden plant for topiary in the UK. This popular winter evergreen is especially popular as a garden hedge to separate flower beds and define the edges of paths. Planted in a beautiful pot, it also used to adorn many terraces and balconies. This hardy shrub stays green all year round, even throughout the winter. To maintain its beautiful full shape though, it is important to prune a boxwood. But how do you prune boxwood?

How do I prune boxwood?

For boxwood to maintain its beautiful form, it is necessary to prune it at least two to four times a year. The more often you prune, the fuller it will grow. Make sure you always use a pair of good quality, sharp pruning shears and have a bucket of water handy. Wet each branch before cutting it, and your pruning shears will slide through the branches much more easily. As well, the chance of damaging your boxwood will be minimal, and the plant will suffer less when pruned. Rinse your shears regularly in the bucket of water as pruning releases sap, which ends up on the shears and makes the blades sticky. To prune a boxwood hedge into a nice, tight shape, first, prune the sides of the hedge. Once the sides are completed, you can then cut the top. Keep the pruning shears as straight as possible and maintain the same height at all times. Using a string line is the best way to ensure that you cut the hedge evenly. Alternatively, to create a nice round shape with your boxwood just start cutting it from the top. Keep the shears upside down when pruning, and you will find it far easier to cut beautiful curves. Make regular checks when shaping your boxwood to ensure you are maintaining correct lines and proportions.

When can I prune boxwood?

The optimal frequency to prune your boxwood is twice a year; during spring and once again in autumn. The first prune should be around the end of May, and the second in September. If you want to prune your boxwood more than twice a year, then give it an extra trim in the period between May and September. To keep your boxwood spheres in a nice, tight shape, it is advisable to prune them in May, July and September. Preferably prune the plants on a cloudy day, as the leaves can be burned by the sun. Should you choose to prune on a sunny day, spray them with water first, and when you are finished cutting temporarily put a cloth or blanket over the shrub for protection.

When can I plant boxwood?

There are two types of boxwood plants: boxwood with loose roots - root material - and boxwood in a pot. Boxwood with loose roots is best planted in the period between October and April. Do not plant once the growing season has started. The chances that the plant takes root will be significantly reduced. Pot planted boxwood does well in the period from April to October. Plant them in full sun or partial shade in loose, lime and nutrient-rich soil, and you can enjoy this beautiful evergreen garden plant for a very long time.

When can I fertilise boxwood

Lots of nutrition and regular fertilisation is important to grow your boxwood into a beautiful, fully developed plant. This is especially important if you prune them regularly, and they will need a lot of manure and lime to compensate. Dose with lime at least once a year so that the acidity of the soil is correctly maintained. Fortunately, boxwood is a hardy species and can easily absorb fertilisers. In springtime give them a generous application of manure and fertilise the plant after each pruning session. This way you will ensure you have a healthy, dark green boxwood that grows well and maintains a full shape.

When can I propagate boxwood?

You can easily propagate boxwood by making your own cuttings. The best time to take a cutting is in August through to October. Prune a branch about ten centimetres from the trunk and remove most of the leaves with a sharp knife, until approximately three-quarters of the way along the branch. Plant the cutting in a tray made of Styrofoam and fill it with potting soil. Place the cuttings close together to stimulate root formation. Position your cutting tray in a well-lit, sheltered spot in the garden. As soon as the roots begin to form and the plants are established, transplant the rooted cuttings to their final destination in the garden.

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