How to Trim an Overcrowded Boxus: 7 Steps

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How to Trim an Overcrowded Boxus: 7 Steps
How to Trim an Overcrowded Boxus: 7 Steps
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The boksus (boxwood/buxus) is a tough and strong shrub. If the box is getting too thick, all you need is pruning shears or cuttings that are sharp and clean. Before forming box bushes, remove all dead or damaged plant parts. When the plant has grown too dense, you should thin it out so that air and sunlight can reach the center of the bush.

Step

Part 1 of 2: Removing Dead or Damaged Leaves

Trim Overgrown Boxwoods Step 1
Trim Overgrown Boxwoods Step 1

Step 1. Remove dead or damaged branches from the box bush first

These branches are easy to spot-the leaves will look wilted and brown, and the stems will break easily. Use sharp, clean shears to cut off the dead parts. Cut at the base at the end of the branch.

Also check for dead or damaged plants in the middle of the bush, not just on the outside

Trim Overgrown Boxwoods Step 2
Trim Overgrown Boxwoods Step 2

Step 2. Watch for signs of box blight

If the branches are diseased, you will see brown spots on the leaves or almost all of the leaves will appear brown. Also check for black ulcers on the stalks. If you see box blight, use a fungicide to help kill the fungus, amend the soil around the shrub, or spread mulch to stop the disease from spreading.

  • Fungicides are usually applied directly to the plant, either applied to the surface or absorbed by the plant.
  • Read the instructions for using the fungicide carefully to make sure you are applying the correct dose to the plant and following proper safety protocols.
  • If box blight is severe, do a quick internet search to find the best strategy for treating it.
Trim Overgrown Boxwoods Step 3
Trim Overgrown Boxwoods Step 3

Step 3. Remove any plant debris that has accumulated in the middle of the bush

Use your hands to separate the top branches so you can see inside the shrub. If any fallen leaves or broken branches get stuck in the bush, remove them from the plant by hand.

Removing fallen leaves and branches will allow more light and air to reach the center of the bush

Part 2 of 2: Pruning Boxes

Trim Overgrown Boxwoods Step 4
Trim Overgrown Boxwoods Step 4

Step 1. Shrink the plants so that light and air can reach the center of the clump

Look for bushy stems and leaves or branches that stick out and need to be cut. Trace it all the way to the base on the main stem. Cut the cuttings with scissors as close to the base as possible, if possible.

  • To cut the leaves as low as possible, walk along the branches and see where the leaves are starting to grow. Cut as far as the leaves are starting to grow.
  • Boxus clumps that are too dense will become very compressed. As a result, light and air cannot reach the center of the clump and the plants will be unhealthy.
  • For boxes that haven't been pruned for several years, reduce the size of the plant gradually, over several growing seasons. Cut only of the size of the plant to keep it healthy.
Trim Overgrown Boxwoods Step 5
Trim Overgrown Boxwoods Step 5

Step 2. Prune any branches sticking out of the clump

Trimming branches like this will help regulate the growth of the shrub and make it look neat. Use cutting shears to cut the branches that stick out high so that the clumps of boksus are even and rounded.

Often, the stems that stick out high are new shoots with light green leaves

Trim Overgrown Boxwoods Step 6
Trim Overgrown Boxwoods Step 6

Step 3. Prune the entire plant, not just the top that is easy to reach

Instead of just focusing on making the outer layer look good, expose the branches of the box to see the center of the bush. In addition to the stems that are outside, also prune those in the middle of the clump.

Trim Overgrown Boxwoods Step 7
Trim Overgrown Boxwoods Step 7

Step 4. Use large, long-handled shears if the growth of the box is out of control

If the plant has grown very large and standard pruning won't solve the problem, take large cuttings of shears. Cut the main stem at the appropriate height and prune the clump roundly.

  • In this case, some branches may not have leaves when cut too low.
  • Remember, don't cut more than of the plant each growing season.
  • Large cutting shears have a longer handle and are convenient for use in heavy pruning.

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