The Q&A Archives: Getting rid of boxwood hedges

Question: I have a row of boxwood hedges where I want to put a driveway. I have tried to dig up the roots, but they keep coming back. Is there something I can put on the roots to kill them without doing harm to the soil? I live on a bluff above Lake Erie and do not want to use a poison that would run into the lake.

Answer: Boxwood (Buxus) are generally considered to be shallow rooted plants and can be uprooted by digging in a wide circle around them and less than a foot deep; in fact, large boxwoods can be transplanted by this method so I am a bit surprised you were unable to dig them out. You might want to have another try at digging out the roots, but in addition you could try glyphosate according to the label instructions. You might have to allow the shrubs to resprout to some extent in order for there to be sufficient foliage to translocate the chemical to the roots where it actually works. Another alternative might be to find another gardener who would like to have the plants and would remove them for you -- since they grow so slowly this could be a case of one person's trash is another person's treasure.

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