A low boxwood hedge makes a pretty border around an herb garden. Being evergreen, a tall Buxus hedge will provide year round privacy. Here are instructions for planting, pruning and rejuvenating run down box hedges.
Here, tall and low-growing boxwood hedges form the basic structure of an Altamonte Springs, Fl front yard landscape design.
A pair of box spiral topiaries keep this formal landscape from being dull.
Hedges provide the structure around which great landscape designs are built.
Boxwood plants, with their small leaves and dense growing habit, are such popular shrubs for hedges because they can be easily sculpted into nearly any shape imaginable.
Tall Buxus varieties, like the 10x12 foot American boxwood, can be used where a privacy hedge is needed or for shaping into outdoor topiaries.
'Green Velvet' boxwood, being half the size of American box, is better suited for lower hedges.
For ultra-low hedges, consider dwarf boxwood varieties such as Korean boxwood whose ultimate height is just 3 feet.
A mini box parterre at Heathcote Botanical Gardens in Central Florida.
Set the plants into the soil so that the top of the rootball is slightly above the earth around it to ensure proper drainage. Keep the hedge well watered its first season in the ground but don't feed or prune it for a few months. Let it settle into its new home first.
Finally, apply 2 inches of mulch around the roots of your newly planted boxwood hedge. Boxwoods have shallow, heat sensitive roots that benefit greatly from a summer blanket of mulch. Do not apply more than 2 inches and try to keep the mulch off the bases of the shrubs so that air can circulate through that area.
A much more elaborate parterre garden in Europe.
Major pruning should be done in late winter or early spring. You can clip the hedge lightly, to maintain the desired shape, at any time during the growing season.
Excessive pruning can be avoided by planting a variety of Buxus that grows to the desired size. For a low hedge, plant a dwarf variety. Different types of boxwood can grow from 2-15 feet tall.
Trimming Buxus in bright sunlight will cause leaf burn. You won't see the evidence right away--it takes about 10 days to show up.
The burnt leaves will fall off a few days later.
To avoid tip burn, trim during overcast weather .
Try to shape the hedge so that the base is slightly wider than the top. Otherwise the top may shade the base and cause dieback at the bottom.
There is disagreement over whether to use power shears or hand pruners on Buxus. I think that a hand pruned hedge always looks best, but I also realize how impractical this can be.
Whichever method you chose, go over your hedge periodically with a hand pruner and thin out any crossing or crowding wood. Light needs to be able to penetrate the interior of the shrub in order to keep it healthy.
A boxwood hedge can last for decades if it is properly pruned and not allowed to grow so dense that light and air cannot get into it.
Cloud prune it!
The box hedge in the image above was cloud pruned to save it after years of neglect and just look at the beautiful results.
Cloud pruning (called Niwaki in Japan) is an artistic Japanese method of sculpting trees and shrubs to resemble clouds.
Let the condition of the plants dictate the shapes.
Wherever your hedge has dieback, make a depression.
Niwaki: Pruning, Training and Shaping Trees the Japanese Way is a wonderful book which will help you master this prized art.
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Your plant guides,
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