Pruning Old Boxwoods

llorenteMay 23, 2008

Hi all. I was asked to prune some old boxwoods, and I was wondering about the best way to do it. They are about 6' tall, fairly old, and they seem a little sparse on the inside beneath the outer foliage. I know that some evergreens can take a hard pruning to within a couple feet of the ground and come back vigorously. If I cut back old boxwoods to half their size, will they just look terrible for a long time and then die anyway?

Any thoughts are appreciated.

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girlgroupgirl(8 ATL)

You first need to cut "holes" in them to let new growth grow in the interior. My partner at work showed me how to do this. That rejuvinates the interior core. Then you can begin to trim them back.


    Bookmark   May 23, 2008 at 4:42PM
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Nell Jean

Here's a link to what GGG described.

I almiost killed some large boxwoods once when I pruned them severely in April.
They were a long, long time recovering.

Now when I want to cut boxwoods to say, half their size, I cut not from the top,
but from the back, leaving a green facade that faces the street.
Once the interior leafs out, the top of the facade can be pruned back.
Reducing the size of overgrown boxwoods is not an instant pruning job.


Here is a link that might be useful: The Right Way to Prune Boxwoods

    Bookmark   May 24, 2008 at 9:22AM
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I agree. I have seen hollies bounce back wonderfully after a hard pruning but not boxwoods. You need to make thinning cuts like they described above. It allows the interior to breathe and light to reach the interior for new growth. When doing this, I cut 6-8 inches from the end of the stem and do this on about 10% of the shrub, evenly of course.

    Bookmark   May 27, 2008 at 9:26AM
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Thanks for the helpful tips. I'll have to give these methods a try.

    Bookmark   May 27, 2008 at 10:59AM
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Hi, my boxwoods are beginning to thin out near the ground. Instead of one uniformed hedge you can begin to see each plants shape from the ground up. It is getting "skinny" like a V from the ground up instead of like a U. i hope that makes sense.
what do you think?

    Bookmark   September 12, 2008 at 9:31PM
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