Q: I have four boxwood bushes in my front yard that are 10-12 years old. Cut off about 1/3 of the plant foliage. The fertilizer normally applied to a lawn is often sufficient to provide the needs of boxwood. In some areas, this could be as early as February. Apply around the base of the plant in very early spring before new growth, being careful not to touch leaves with the fertilizer. They can also be susceptible to powdery mildew, Pythium root rot, canker and leaf spots. Still, it might be necessary in cases where your shrub has been severely damaged by … To keep most of the roots within a small area, root prune in the spring or fall before transplanting. It is good to plant ivy deeper-- as much as 3-4" deeper if possible. Boxwood shrubs will benefit from fertilization, especially when being pruned or sheared frequently. This cooler period of time also allows the newly transplanted shrub to gather as much water as possible before the onset of winter, which can help protect the shrub against desiccation and other winter damage. This situation does NOT necessarily mean immediately adding fertilizer. Early spring is a good time to assess any damage of the previous winter and take corrective measures when necessary. Here are a few tips for how to propagate boxwoods from cuttings: • When to take boxwood cuttings: You want to begin to propagate boxwood around late summer to early fall—usually July to October, after the spring growth has started to harden. As long as you avoid the most … First, feel the plant to determine if the leaves are soft to the touch or whether they have a crispy, paper feel to them. The second test is to look at the color of the leaves within the plant. Boxwoods are evergreen plants that are typically grown as shrubs or topiaries in outdoor gardens. Boxwoods have fallen out of favor with some gardeners in recent years. As soon as major freezes are over, usually around March I for the middle Atlantic states, transplanting can begin (depending on the winter, January and February might also be acceptable transplanting times). Planting boxwood in pots. Spring growth, will often reestablish the plant to its normal color. Roots of trees and shrubs normally grow well beyond the soil volume that can be moved. How I propagate boxwood: In spring (or early fall, if you live in a warm climate), take tip-cuttings 6 inches in length. Planting dates will be slightly different from the climatic zone in which you live. Fertilize them in spring with a slow-release shrub & tree food, preferably one that contains Sulfur and/or Iron for deep greening. I have, in the past, trimmed them when needed and had no trouble until this year. The latter indicates a level of dryness which may be terminal, at least for that part of the plant. On the other hand, wind can be tolerated if the roots are capable of supplying moisture to the top of the plant. Then the following year you can dig up the shrub and transplant it, attempting to keep as much of the soil in place as possible. Often winter burn can be successfully pruned out the following spring and the shrub will be just fine. Dig the new hole wider and deeper than the root ball. Water thoroughly throughout the first season. See the paper on “plucking” and/or on “propagation.”  Late winter and very early spring is also an ideal time to move plants which need to be transplanted. Go to a garden center and get transplant fertilizer. In cold climates early spring transplanting is recommended. Plants to be moved in the fall (October or November) should be root pruned in March, and those to be moved in spring (March) should be root pruned in October. Besides the dryness of summer, winter is one of the harshest times of the year on boxwood. Now the day before you dig, you want to water your boxwood thoroughly. If you are in a really cold climate you will best results transplanting in the spring. Boxwoods pruned in this manner may take a few years to recover. Can boxwood shrubs be cut back? Cut it down by 1/2, water it well. Just kidding. If the Boxwood is over two to three years old, the root system is well established, and they would be difficult to transplant. During the fall, winter, and very early spring, top growth will not come out but root growth will take place any time the ground temperature is significantly above freezing. Rototill an area approximately two to three times as wide as the root ball of your dug-up boxwood and 12 to 18 inches deep -- or as deep as your tiller will allow. The seriousness of winter burn may be evaluated in two ways. The best time to transplant is either late winter just before spring growth begins, or a couple of months before the ground freezes in early fall. Top 3 Boxwood Problems. USDA National Agriculture Library: Growing Boxwood, The American Boxwood Society: About Boxwood. Stephen D. Southall Boxwood blight is a serious problem in many states. This plant can easily be mistaken for boxwood with its tiny, glossy leaves and small branches. However, you can transplant boxwood successfully when you adhere to a few simple guidelines. Three reasons. This replaces nutrients that might have washed out of the container. ASSESS EFFECTS OF WINTER DAMAGE IN EARLY SPRING. Ideally, trees and shrubs need about a month to establish roots before a heavy freeze, but it’s actually OK to plant them anytime the ground is workable, and many bare-root trees and shrubs are planted in very early spring while they’re still dormant. One of the surest signs of a healthy plant is a timely overall flush of new growth. From all the desperate emails I have been getting, it seems a lot of you want to know if it's still OK to transplant shrubs. Winds cause plant desiccation (drying) and the moisture must be replaced. Estimate the width and depth of the root ball (roots plus soil) by … In the first case, settling in is easier, and in the second case, you’ll need to water regularly after having planted your boxwood. Calculate the Size of the Root Ball. They are dying and I don’t know why. I think your yews may have gotten sunburned in late July; prune out the damaged growth next spring. Drought stress is the most severe in newly-planted landscapes where the plants are suffering from transplant shock, those without irrigation or rainfall for a long period of time, or those grown in … At the very minimum, allow for a tilled area at least one and a half times as wide as the root ball. Reddish-brown rust or bronzing color is often seen on plants during the winter before spring growth. The mulch also provides the all important organic matter necessary for good plant growth. When digging out your boxwood shrub prior to transplanting, dig slightly out from the drip line and at least 25 percent as deep as the shrub is tall. They are the gardeners that remember trimming boxwood bushes into severe and often geometric shapes that have no place in the more casual gardens of today. Kelly's background also includes childcare, and animal rescue and care. The pH advised for boxwood is around 6.5-7.2. The depth of boxwood shrubs is typically about 25 percent of the shrub's height, but the spread can be go well beyond the drip line. Next day or 2 dig up as big a root as you can. The concept to remember is that you want to provide the maximum amount of time between planting and the dryness of the upcoming summer. Remove all dead twigs and debris, especially from the center, where fungus disease can start. I always plant 5-7 stems together, just to achieve an instant “shrub” effect. Remove the plant from its current location. The most severe stress comes from the combination of cold winter winds and frozen ground, thus not allowing water to move up into the plant. Boxwood is no different; however, the roots of boxwood aren't deep, they're wide. © Copyright 2020 Hearst Communications, Inc. Remove the lower inch of leaves… And plunge the stems directly into the … Major pruning should be done in the late winter to early spring. The myth of “summer transplanting” I answer a LOT of gardening questions either in the “Ask the expert” section of our website or in person during my visits to the garden centers. Go ahead and plant them. Winter burn is noticed as yellow, brown dead leaves on the outside of the bush. If these deeper leaves are the proper shade of dark green and are soft to the touch, then the outside leaves are probably showing the result of lack of nutrients and the bronzing is exacerbated by exposure to wind and cold. First, the plant will be easier to dig. The best time for transplanting is mid-spring or early fall. Late winter/early spring before new growth comes out is a great time to pluck and shape misshapen plants since the new growth will quickly provide a uniform appearance and cover any cosmetic blemishes from the plucking. An alternate time is in late fall, after frost has come. Place your boxwood in the hole and back-fill the hole with soil, using your hand to work the soil under and among the roots. In favorable climates the transplanting can be done at almost any time when the plant is not in soft growth, except at the very hottest times. If the roots and surrounding soil are frozen, this replacement is not possible. Potted boxwood, if a few special precautions are taken during planting, is guaranteed to grow and thrive in a good environment. Pruning encourages new soft growth that is susceptible to frost damage, so hold off trimming your boxwoods till late spring if you plan to do hard pruning; light tip pruning can be done any time. Even though it’s late in the season, your shrubs will be happier in the ground than in pots. Boxwood shrubs can be transplanted during late spring and summer, although you are more likely to fail in your endeavor than succeed, as the shock can be detrimental. Although the sizes vary by species, most boxwood varieties are slow growers that add only 12 inches or less of height per year. Commonly referred to as “winter burn,” its cause is most probably not due to the winter but to the pH of the soil being too acidic (on the lower side of 6.5, see section on “Soil samples and pH”). With a professional background in gardening, landscapes, pests and natural ecosystems, Jasey Kelly has been sharing her knowledge through writing since 2009 and has served as an expert writer in these fields. See below for more information and planting alternatives. They also remember how much time and effort it took to keep them in formal rigidity. My Grandma Nelly transplanted boxwoods so many times she joked that they could grow in the air. See the section on “soil samples and pH.”  The proper amount of lime to be applied will be specified with the soil sample results. When grown in well-drained and aerated soil with good organic matter, the fertilization needs of boxwood are minimal. Alternatively, you can feed with a natural organic plant food. Each spring, when you prune, add an inch-thick layer of compost to the top of the soil and work it in gently. Why? I am a landscaper and designer and have transplanted Boxwood … The best time to move old boxwood hedges is in the fall, with spring being a second option. The addition of lime will bring the pH back to the proper range and allow the plant access to the nutrients. English Boxwoods of Virginia, Plastic to prevent weeds?? I do not like fall planting as I go by projects where things are planted in fall and are dead in spring. This is normal and should occur. Eventually, you might have to repot a boxwood, but it depends on the variety you choose and size of the container. The importance of monitoring winter moisture levels is sometimes not realized until the spring when the effects of winter dryness are seen in a damaged plant. The shrub can be cut drastically if necessary to repair any winter damage, but do it in stages--don't remove more than a third of the height or breadth of a boxwood shrub in a single year. It's best to root-prune your boxwood a year in advance of the actual transplanting, although this isn't always feasible. See the section on “plucking.” This time of year is also an ideal time to break out any dead wood. Choose a rainy day, water the boxwood well a few days before transplanting. shrubs, which grow in U.S. Department of Agriculture plant hardiness zones 5 through 9, depending on species, remain a perennial favorite among those looking for an evergreen hedge or shrub that maintains vigor after shearing and a textured look year-round. See “planting paper.” Only early fall is a better transplanting time. Touch up trimming can be done all spring and summer. Third, the root ball is less likely to break and fall away from the roots during the move. Most rhododendrons and azaleas in the landscape, even large ones, can be moved using proper care. The alternate freezing and thawing of the ground will possibly leave exposed roots which need to be covered with a fresh layer of soil or mulch. This strengthens the root system within a compact area, making it easier to move boxwoods. You can “stake” larger or taller trees if there is a possibility they could be uprooted by strong winds or winter storms between now and next spring. The Best Time to Replant Buxus Sempervirens. Just as one would never “take pills” before doing blood work and going to their doctor to determine what is wrong, one should never throw fertilizer at a weakened plant without taking a soil sample to assess the condition of the soil. The answer to all of these questions is pretty much the same. Often the soil becomes too acid and regardless of the nutrients in the soil or the amount of fertilizer applied, the plant is unable to take up the nutrients because the pH is off balance. If your boxwood needs a serious rejuvenation and you are planning to prune it to the ground, do it in late winter or early spring. As soon as major freezes are over, usually around March I for the middle Atlantic states, transplanting can begin (depending on the winter, January and February might also be acceptable transplanting times). Another of the fine boxwood alternatives is Anna’s Magic Ball arborvitae ( Thuja occidentalis ‘Anna van Vloten’). Once the area is tilled, dig a planting hole that will allow approximately 10 percent of the root ball to stick above the soil line and that is just wider than the root ball. The best time to transplant boxwood shrubs is in autumn. Can I Transplant a Japanese Boxwood in the Summer? 1 Water the boxwood to a depth of 8 inches the day before planting. Boxwood leaf miners, scale insects, lesion nematodes, caterpillars and mites can be a problem; treat with organic neem oil or insecticidal spray. After watering the plant properly, begin with the transplantation process. How to Transplant Bushes and Shrubs: Here are the basic steps to successfully transplanting bushes and shrubs: Give the plant a good trim. "You can dig up ivy fall or early spring and move it. The plant can tolerate frozen roots if there are no winds to cause excessive desiccation. Again, this isn't always feasible, but it will allow the roots to easily work through the soil as they begin to grow outward. Although they're tolerant of shearing, they are particularly susceptible to transplant shock and damage, especially if moved during the wrong time of year. When given proper care, boxwood shrubs often respond well to early spring transplanting. Avoid pruning in early fall into early winter. If plants contain winter debris such as dead leaves, a strong hosing out and cleaning is advised. Only early fall is a better transplanting time. Getting a soil test is advised since the pH of the soil will determine whether the plant is able to take up the available nutrients from the soil.