The Q&A Archives: Boxwood Pruning

Question: We have a row of overgrown boxwoods in the front of our house in Atlanta. They get morning to midday sun, then shade in the afternoon. They're about 5' or 6' tall, and really reaching out too far into the lawn. Should we cut them down to a foot tall? If we did, would mulching and then weekly watering be enough to keep them alive? thanks!

Answer: I'm afraid such drastic pruning will kill your boxwoods. If you need to reduce their sizes, you can do so over a period of 2-3 years by pruning them back by one third this spring, one third next spring and one third the following spring. Although they may sprout back up if you cut them off nearly to ground level, there is no guarantee and you may end up digging and replacing them. Renewal pruning is best done in stages so that the shrubs retain enough leaves to keep the roots alive. Removing all the foliage will stop photosynthesis and the roots can simply die out. If you want to maintain the hedge, plan on renovation pruning over the next few years. Good luck with your project!

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