Boxwood shrubs are ornamental bushes with dense foliage when kept beautiful and healthy. They are frequently planted in historical gardens. There are many varieties of this shrub that vary in rate of growth and size. The leaves are a vibrant green and when planted close together the boxwood makes an excellent hedge. Boxwood prefers partial shade, but can also thrive in full sun when proper care is provided. The shallow roots require mulching to maintain the health of the plant. These versatile shrubs can be used as hedges, individual plants or topiary. They do require regular watering, feeding and trimming to maintain good health.
Boxwood has a very shallow root system and does not grow well in wet ground. Add mulch around the base of the shrub to a depth of two inches for improved health of the plant. Utilize shredded hardwood bark as the mulch for the most benefit as this also increases the PH of the soil. Add more mulch as the existing material decomposes. This mulch will keep the ground cool and provide extra drainage to keep the roots from sitting in water. If voles are a problem in the area reduce the height of the mulch to one inch.
Water the shrubs weekly for the first three growing seasons. Do not over-water as this will damage the roots of the Boxwood, but allow the soil to become moist. Water as needed after the first three growing seasons, according to the amount of rain received in any given week. Boxwoods need fertilizer in late winter or early spring each year. Use a time- release fertilizer
Boxwood shrubs can be trimmed as topiary if desired. Prune the Boxwood in the early winter or late fall. When trimming ensure that the lower part of the bush is slightly larger than the top so it still receives sunlight. When trimming a hedge it may be helpful to use garden poles and string to create a straight line. Pound a garden pole into the ground on each end of the hedge and tie a string between them at the height desired for the hedge. Trim the Boxwood hedge using the string as a guide. Trim the sides, again making sure the lower part of the boxwood is slightly wider than the top. Clean away all debris after trimming and add mulch as needed.
Remove heavy snow from the top of the Boxwood during the winter to avoid damage to the shape of the shrub. If the leaves turn orange in the winter the shrubs are receiving to much light. This discoloration will not hurt the plant and the leaves will return to green in the spring. Consider planting a shade tree nearby to reduce the amount of direct sunlight during the day. Check the root area after a heavy rain to ensure the roots are not sitting in water. Prune away dead branches to keep the shrub healthy. Thinning out the older growth in established bushes will allow light to reach the new growth and keep the plant healthy. Boxwood shrubs can add a distinctive flair to outdoor landscaping for a business or home.