The Q&A Archives: Boxwoods Turning Orange

Question: After purchasing an older home, we moved several very large, and old, English boxwoods. They did wonderful the first year. Now the leaves are turning orange and red. I first thought this was the natural turning that occurs each year, but they have remained this color for a full year! I kept them well watered last summer, but the color never changed. Do they need feeding? If so, how? Any information and help will be greatly appreciated. I don't want to lose these plants.

Answer: Boxwood leaves tend to turn yellow and then orange as they die and just before they fall off. Usually this happens with older leaves, not leaves on the tips of stems, unless the plants are stressed. Moving established plants was probably just enough to stress them a bit, resulting in dying leaves. The nature of boxwood leaves is to slowly change color, so what you're witnessing is probably transplanting stress. Prune your boxwoods lightly to encourage new growth. Once healthy growth begins you can feed lightly. Be sure to water regularly (once each week during the growing season), applying enough water to deeply soak the root systems. Hope your boxwoods perk up soon!

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