Buxus

Common name: Box

Buxus is a hardy evergreen and sometimes variegated shrub (dependant on variety) that is well suited for hedging and topiary.

It is a useful plant once established for a dry shaded area, although ideally it prefers a fertile well drained soil.

It can often be seen used as borders to a property or as flower bed borders in a knot garden.

Tiny scented flowers appear in April/May.

If left unattended it has the potential to grow into a 3metre (10ft) high shrub with a 2 metre (6ft) spread.

Pruning will depend on what the plants are being used for!

An informal shrub will only require a light trim in spring, whereas a formal hedge will need trimming back twice a year and if it is a topiary subject, at least three times a year.

Make the final cut before September to allow new growth time to mature before winter.

Pruning/trimming on an overcast day will minimise browning of cut leaf edges.

Cultivation notes:

Week 18: Remove the upper third of newly planted plants.

Some people advocate doing this at planting out time thus making the exercise optional.

It is probably prudent to say let common sense prevail, i.e. are the plants in a suitable state (at planting time) to do this? or are they in such an exposed position that they might be subject to wind rock' ?

If so, then cutting back at planting time might be the better option.

Week 20: Pot up rooted cuttings into individual 100mm (4") pots or place them in a nursery bed and grow on for a couple of years before planting them out in their final quarters.

Week 20-22: Trim/clip plants to required shape and height.

If more stock is required this is a good time to use the clippings as softwood, semi hardwood or heel cuttings.

Week 36: Prepare ground for cuttings taken the previous year or bare rooted transplants obtained from a specialist grower.

Add some organic matter such as well rotted farm yard manure or home made compost to the soil before planting.

The planting area should be fertile, well drained, and in sun or partial shade.

Buxus will not tolerate waterlogged conditions,

If forming a hedge, space plants 300-400 mm (12”-15”) apart, or halve this distance for compact species.

Transplants should form a reasonable hedge within four years.

Pests and Diseases:

Young growth on Buxus can be damaged by weather conditions e.g. they can be scorched by hot sunshine or blackened by frost.

During hot dry summers the plant/s can become stressed causing the foliage to turn a bronzy colour.

Box blight and box rust can sometimes affect plants, and as with many forms of blight/rust good hygene can help to prevent this situation.

That is, keep the plants growing strongly with the addition of water during dry spells and a dressing of a balanced fertiliser in spring.

Always clean up after pruning to prevent creating conditions suited to overwintering rust/blight spores.





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