UACES Facebook Boxwood

Boxwood

July 9, 2016

Question

I've just noticed today that I have a disease or infestation on new growth in my boxwood hedge.  It is all white and at the moment seems to be on the stems only.  Leaves do not appear to be affected at this time.  It looks and feels like baking soda or talcum powder.  If possible, tell me what it and what would be my course for combating this invasion.

 

Answer

We have received reports from all over the state about this white powdery substance that moves.  Early on we did have wooly aphids, and now we seem to have more of a flatid planthopper insect. While the immature nymph does closely resemble white wooly aphid, and excrete honeydew like aphids, it is a different insect. They feed in much the same way, but the biggest difference is that planthoppers move quickly when disturbed and often jump or hop for several inches whereas woolly aphids are more sedentary. Normally they are not found in numbers that require attention, but the same pesticides labeled for aphids will give adequate control of flatid planthoppers --insecticidal soap, a strong spray of water, Orthene, or Malathion. It looks worse than it is, so don’t be alarmed.


 

(November 2011)

QuestionWe need some suggestions or ideas for an evergreen barrier that will get to 3-4 ft tall in pm sun on the south and west side of our yard. We want to run this about 100 ft long. Water is no problem. Types and spacing ideas would be greatly appreciated.

AnswerThere are a wide range of plants that stay in the 3-4 foot range including compacta hollies, loropetalum—both green leafed and purple leafed (check variety height), Indian hawthorne, boxwoods and even nandinas. All will take full sun. For a denser hedge, stagger the planting in a zigzag pattern instead of in a straight row.


(December 2011)

QuestionPlease check the attached picture of topiary (maybe holly). We think this may be caused by the heavy rains...the pots are large and have no drainage holes. There are spots on the leaves and overall they don’t look good.

 

AnswerThe picture wasn’t very clear, but it appears to be a boxwood. I also think the problem lies with the container having no drainage hole. It doesn’t matter how large the pot is, if it gets natural rainfall, it is swimming. And we have had a lot of rain lately. Try to drill some holes in the pot and see if it doesn’t improve. I wouldn’t expect much change this winter—the damaged leaves won’t re-green, but hopefully further damage can be avoided. I bet if you tilt the pot on its side water will pour out.


(April 2010)

QuestionAre there shrubs (besides azalea, rhododendron, and camellia) that will grow well under pine trees?

AnswerPines tend to have a high enough canopy that most shade and partial shade tolerant shrubs do well. Cleyera, aucuba, fatsia, hollies and boxwoods are all possible choices, but there are numerous others. Soil acidity can be a long-term concern under pines, but most of these plants are pretty tolerant.


(March 2010) My boxwoods have greened up and look great EXCEPT I forgot to trim them back in February. Will I mess up if I trim back now our do I just wait till next year?

AnswerEvergreens that are grown for foliage and do not bloom can lightly be shaped at almost any season. Heavy pruning—more than one third should be done as early in the spring or late winter as possible to catch that burst of new growth that can help the plants quickly recover. Boxwoods are a bit tricky, in that they have such dense outer foliage that there is basically no growth on the interior of the plant. Pruning back leaves the plant looking pretty barren. As long as you can prune by early April, I think you can still expect the plant to fill back in fairly quickly--much later than that and you have a pretty homely plant for a season.


(April 2010)

QuestionSpring has sprung and time, I think, to do some bush trimming. We have 4 large boxwood shrubs in front of our office. Is it ok to trim them back at this time? Thanks for the help!

AnswerIf they need trimming do so as soon as possible. Boxwood shrubs (Buxus sempervirens) tend to have very dense outer foliage, leaving a fairly bare interior to the plant. If you wait too late to prune, the recovery time is slow and you end up looking at a pretty ugly plant for a period of time. After you prune, give them a light application of fertilizer to aid in their re-growth. Just because it is spring, doesn’t mean every plant needs pruning. Be sure you know why, when and how to prune the shrubs in your landscape.


(June 2005)

QuestionI have two dwarf nandinas that have grown larger than I want. Can these be trimmed back severely, and if so, when is the best time to trim them? I also have boxwoods--Is it too late to trim these? I usually trim them in early spring and again in October.

AnswerDwarf nandinas can occasionally get overgrown, and can be pruned if needed. They tend to grow fairly slowly, so annual pruning is not needed. If you plan to prune I would do so as soon as possible. I prefer to prune nandinas as they green up in the spring of the year, to allow ample time for recovery before fall and winter—their prettiest season in my opinion. The reason I wouldn’t prune much later is when the summers get horrid, there is little new growth on our plants—they conserve energy to survive. Boxwoods can be shaped as needed, but do keep in mind that most of the foliage on these plants is on the exterior of the plants. The outer foliage is so dense, there is little growth on the interior of the plants. Allow recovery time, since they often look fairly ugly following a good pruning.


(April 2010)

QuestionAre there shrubs (besides azalea, rhododendron, and camellia)that will grow well under pine trees?

AnswerPines tend to have a high enough canopy that most shade and partial shade tolerant shrubs do well. Cleyera, aucuba, fatsia, hollies and boxwoods are all possible choices, but there are numerous others. Soil acidity can be a long-term concern under pines, but most of these plants are pretty tolerant.


(April 2010)

QuestionAre there shrubs (besides azalea, rhododendron, and camellia) that will grow well under pine trees?

AnswerPines tend to have a high enough canopy that most shade and partial shade tolerant shrubs do well. Cleyera, aucuba, fatsia, hollies and boxwoods are all possible choices, but there are numerous others. Soil acidity can be a long-term concern under pines, but most of these plants are pretty tolerant.


(September 2006)

QuestionI have a new home that is surrounded by woods. We have quite a few deer that we are feeding in the woods. I want to landscape the front of my house soon. Can you tell me any plants that deer are not interested in? The house will have northern exposure. The sun comes across the house so the front has sun most of the day.

AnswerWe do have a list of deer resistant plants that we can send you. However, one word of warning: if you are feeding the deer, you are encouraging them. As long as you continue to have food for them, they should be happy, but if it runs out they can wreak havoc on your landscape. If desperate enough, they can begin to feed on supposedly deer resistant plants. Boxwoods and yaupon hollies are two standard evergreen plants that they usually steer clear of. Others include buckeye, elaeagnus, abelia, nandina and aucuba. On the flip side, they love azaleas, hosta and daylilies, so you may want to avoid those.


(April 2006)

QuestionI have several large overgrown hollies and boxwoods in my yard. I know I was supposed to prune them in February, but time slipped away and they didn’t get done. Have I waited too late? I need to cut them back by at least one third, but I don’t want to look at dead looking twigs all summer either. What is my best bet?

AnswerThere is still plenty of time. Severe pruning - taking off more than one third, can be done any time from late February through April. You can even get by with pruning into June, but by mid to late June, temperatures start rising and rainfall usually decreases, thus we see less new growth. Pruning while we are still at the peak of the growing season allows the plants to have a quicker recovery rate. Boxwoods in particular often look pretty barren following even light pruning, since they have all of their leaves on the outside of the bush. Water when dry and one light application of fertilizer should help in recovery.


(March 2006)

QuestionI did some minor trimming on my boxwoods this fall. During winter and now the top is brown and dead looking. As spring arrives what do I need to do to get the boxwoods looking good again? My neighbor did the same and his are just like mine. Also, I have a couple of boxwoods that have an orange tint to them. I put fertilizer on them but with no results in change of appearance. Any suggestions. I live in Hot Springs Village, if that matters on boxwood care.

AnswerThere are a number of boxwoods that have white tips caused by winter burn this season. This was actually a combination of dry and cold weather -- next year be sure to water even in the winter if it is dry. Lightly shear off the damaged area and it should leaf out. The orange color is a naturally occurring process during the winter. As they begin spring growth, they should bounce back to their natural green color. Give them a light application of nitrogen as they begin to grow and they should fill in nicely.


(April 2005)

QuestionSpring has sprung and time, I think, to do some bush trimming. We have four large boxwood shrubs in front of our office here in LR. Is it ok to trim them back at this time? Thanks for the help!

AnswerYes, but get it done soon, especially if you need to do severe pruning. Boxwoods tend to have very dense outer foliage, and very little interior foliage. They can look a little ugly immediately following pruning. Pruning while the weather is ideal should encourage a rapid recovery.


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