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English Boxwood

The English boxwood is the most popular and well know version of the boxwood shrub. It is a dwarf plant that will get to about 3 feet in height. It is a slow growing shrub and its ability to be shaped is exactly the quality that leads people to use this shrub for bordering a piece of property or for topiary arrangements.

Care is simple for the English boxwood. The shrub should generally be planted in close proximity to each other. As it grows, it will get the full hedge look that defines this plant. Keep your boxwood shrub well watered. This is a hardy plant that can take being planted in full sun or full shade, but it will be happiest in a spot that is partially shady.

English boxwood shrubs should be mulched; the roots must be kept away from the heat as they are very shallow. Maintain a 3-inch thick layer of mulch, beginning at the trunk and working your way outward about 1 foot. The cooler temperatures will help the boxwood shrubs roots when sheltered or shaded by a nearby tree.

A common problem for Dwarf English boxwoods shrubs is “winter bronzing,” manifested by a change in foliage color to a reddish-brown or yellowish. It is the result of exposure in winter to wind and sun. Such exposure causes a water loss that damages the foliage.

How should you address the problem of winter bronzing on dwarf English boxwoods? First of all, spray an anti-desiccant (A foliage spray that aids against summer scald, transplant shock and winter moisture loss) on the shrubs in late November and again in late January, and make sure your plants are watered sufficiently throughout the growing season. Winter bronzing doesn’t kill English boxwood shrubs, but is unsightly. Normal green foliage should, however, return in spring on new growth. Just prune out the damaged foliage.


How To Plant English Boxwood

Dig a hole that is shallow and broad – about three times the diameter of the root ball, but no deeper than the root ball.

Don’t plant too deeply. The flare where the roots spread at the base of the trunk should be just above the soil level. It’s better to plant a little high to allow for settling.

Inspect roots; if circling, gently tease apart or they will continue to make circling growth. If difficult to loosen by hand, make four cuts into root mass from the bottom up the sides with utility knife. This promotes growth into surrounding soil.

Place the shrub in the hole. Fill the hole about one third full and gently but firmly pack soil around the root ball to eliminate air pockets. Don’t stomp on delicate roots. Water to moisten soil; then fill hole completely.

Apply a two- to four-inch layer of mulch (shredded pine or cedar mulch) to soil at the shrub base in a 3-foot circle. This helps conserve moisture, reduces competition from grass and weeds and encourages you to keep string trimmers away from trunk. Don’t heap mulch up against the base of the shrub as this can promote decay.

Water well after planting, but don’t apply fertilizer until second growing season. If you don’t get regular rainfall, continue to water newly planted shrubs thoroughly (an inch of water once a week), in the first season.

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