Boxwood hedges are broadleaf, evergreen upright shrubs. They can be pruned into a formal shape, or grown in a tightly informal fashion. The growth shape of a boxwood hedge depends on the species. They can range from only a foot tall to twenty feet tall. Most species of boxwood hedges grow very slowly, often less than one inch per year. Some boxwood hedges grow in a spherical shape, while others are more upright and slender.
A boxwood hedge, being an evergreen, will provide greenery and protection year round. The thick covering of leaves on a boxwood hedge gives the impression of a continuous surface. Boxwood hedges can easily live up to three hundred years old or more. There are blooms on a boxwood hedge in the spring, but the flowers are very small, and have little visual interest.
While boxwoods will grow in full sun, they prefer a partially shaded location. Fertile soil is not essential but it should be limed to a pH of 6.5 to 7.0. Avoid windy sites such as a corners of buildings or crest of hills. Winter sun and wind will cause the foliage to turn yellow-orange or bronze. A well-drained soil is essential to avoid root diseases. Boxwoods should not be planted near drain spouts or areas that tend to stay wet.
Hedges will often overgrow their allotted space and need to be trimmed regularly. The best time to perform pruning of a hedge or other shrubbery is early spring. Branches should be left on through the winter months since shrubs store energy in their wood. 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.
As plants go, I love boxwood! My boxwood hedge borders the walk (in three sections) from the front/side of the garage to the back of the house. I don’t trim my boxwood hedge as regularly as I should, so it’s always a ‘major’ effort when I do. Why didn’t I take ‘before’ pictures??? You can see evidence of its former size (overflow) from the lack of grass/dead grass at the edging.
If you’re not confident with your trimming skills, you may want to stake a line (height and width?) and place a drop-cloth to catch trimmings for easy clean-up…but, I do neither! I just ‘eyeball it’.
A hedge should be trimmed slightly narrower at the top to allow light to filter to the area below.
Boxwood adds year-round garden interest… as it’s evergreen (doesn’t drop its leaves thru winter).
I used an electric hedge trimmer and a pair of hand-trimmers for the really large/thick branches.
BTW, my back porch is still a work in-progress… we’ll be installing the screens soon!
…and, since I had the trimmers out and at-the-ready, I also trimmed my 20-something year-old, not-so-dwarf Alberta Spruce. They were planted at the corners of the garage as focal points (remember to add vertical interest in the garden).
Now, trimming a dwarf Alberta Spruce gets a bit tricky! I took a nip-and-tuck approach…
It’s best to trim new growth/tips just to ‘shape’ and trimming back to ‘wood’ will not re-grow!!! These plants have outgrown their space, but will survive a few more years??
There’s never a lack of gardening chores…enjoy the great outdoors!