A Complete Guide to the Boxwood Tree
The boxwood tree is one of the most popular shrubs that’s used to make hedges. One of its advantages is the fact that the tree has very small leaves, so that when it grows tall, all of the spaces between branches are filled in with leaves. That means that it is a fantastic hedge for privacy.
When you first purchase the boxwood tree, it is apt to be very small, anywhere from under a foot to two feet high. That’s because you shouldn’t transplant shrubs that are too large. The bigger a plant is, the greater the chances are that it won’t adjust successfully to its new environment. The boxwood tree can be pruned to be any size and shape you want. If you choose to just let it grow without pruning, it could grow to be as high as eight to ten feet.
If you do decide to use boxwood as a hedge, you should consider the fact that it does not stay completely green year-round. It grows new leaves in the spring and is thick and green for the entire summer. It will die back in winter. The boxwood tree goes by other names--it is the number one hedge in England, where it is known by such names as English hedge, English shrub, common boxwood, European boxwood, and pale boxwood. There are several different species of boxwood as well.
The boxwood grows large and is a heavy feeder. It likes soil to be on the acidic end of the spectrum. You can fertilize with a commercial fertilizer or use organic methods to keep your bushes healthy. When you first prepare the soil, you can mix in a good amount of dried manure and compost. If you drink coffee, one of the best organic ways to acidify the soil is to sprinkle on coffee grounds a couple of times each year. Many people already have coffee grounds in their compost pile. Add more organic materials or synthetic fertilizer approximately once a month throughout the summer growing season.
When transplanting your boxwood tree, be sure to water it well in addition to fertilizing it. One of the best watering methods at planting time is to fill the hole with about 50% of the soil and then water the plant heavily. Let all of the water drain out of the soil, then again fill it with water and add the rest of the soil. You will need to water your boxwood shrub if you have a year with little rain. Other than that, it only requires watering right before the start of winter.
As with most other plants, a boxwood tree can benefit mightily from mulching. It will keep moisture in the soil and stop most weeds from growing. Straw is a good plant mulch as are wood chips. Leaves are good as long as they are all chopped up, but not good if they have been left whole. Wet leaves can prevent the plant from getting the nutrients it needs to stay healthy.
One of the things people love about boxwood shrubs is that they can be pruned to any shape you desire. Some people even plant them in such a way as to spell out words which can be seen when viewed from above. Still, most people opt for planting a typical hedge around their yard. Boxwood is so thick that it gives a great sense of privacy. Before your bush begins its spring growth, you should prune off any dead branches from the winter. If you want to control the plant’s growth or make a bushier shrub, you can pinch off new growth. That will cause the leaves to thicken. You can prune the bushes to be any shape desired.
Whether you use your boxwood tree as part of a traditional English garden or just to keep neighbors from seeing what’s happening in your yard, this shrub is always a good choice. Remember that it does not like extreme cold and is best grown in USDA hardiness zones 6 and above.