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Relieve boxwoods of winter’s wear and tear
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Relieve boxwoods of winter’s wear and tear

Boxwood trees are great foundation plants and also can be used for privacy screening, but they are susceptible to winter storm damage, said horticulturalist Mark Viette.

“The trees are often damaged by heavy, wet snow. A couple of winters ago we had a bad storm, and it flattened out our boxwood hedge,” Viette said. “Luckily, evergreens have the ability to maintain color after damage, but after two years, the branches become damaged. Boxwoods can rebound from damage, but in this case, the tree has been damaged for too long and it will require pruning.”

Boxwoods should be pruned in the spring, using lopping shears or a hand saw.

Scratch the branch with a penknife to see if the branch is dead or alive. If it is dead, it is important to cut it where the new growth starts at the base. More branches could die if you prune only a few of them, Viette said.
“As you pull apart the plant, you can see where it is dead. Prune to where the nice, green growth is at the bottom of the tree, about 12 to 18 inches from the ground.”

Once that’s done the plant will begin showing new growth, taking about three years to reach its former size.

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