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Cutting back boxwoods

Old 01-07-2017, 11:11 PM
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Default Cutting back boxwoods

I have two beautiful 20yo boxwoods that have outgrown their space. I found some info. on line that a major pruning can be successful. They are @ 6'x6'x6' and I want to take them back to 2'x2'x2'. Anyone ever done this with successful regrowth. I don't mind them being bare for a year or two. I hate to be a puss but I hate to just hook the tractor to them and throw them on the burn pile.
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Old 01-07-2017, 11:58 PM
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I don't know wher eyou live, but chances are this time of year the boxwood is in it's domancy stage, if you do this type of heavy pruning now you'll just kill it. You really need to do this in the spring time when the plant is actively growing.

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Old 01-08-2017, 12:47 AM
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Originally Posted by Garett View Post
I don't know wher eyou live, but chances are this time of year the boxwood is in it's domancy stage, if you do this type of heavy pruning now you'll just kill it. You really need to do this in the spring time when the plant is actively growing.
Yes you are correct about the time as I will be doing it in the future. The term I should be using is shearing instead of pruning. I was looking for feedback from someone who was really heavy handed with their bushes and how it turned out.
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Old 01-08-2017, 05:09 AM
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I find Garrett's answer puzzling. I grew up on a farms with apple, plum, peach, cherry and nectarine orchards. I've pruned fruit and shade trees, ornamental and fruiting shrubs for the well over fifty years and almost always done it during the dormant season. If we wanted to encourage new growth, prune when the plant is dormant. If we wanted to stunt a plant's growth, prune when the plant is actively growing. In my experience, it's very unlikely you'll kill a tree or shrub by pruning it.

Maybe the boxwood is entirely different. I've never had one to fool with.
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Old 01-08-2017, 06:49 AM
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Last spring I trimmed my box woods back pretty good. Did 6 of them. They are about 10 years old and never been pruned at all. They were not 6' but probably 4-5'. I took them back to half of their size. They made it through the year and we had drought conditions in the fall. I think you'll be fine. If the other option is pulling them out then what do you have to lose. Trim em and see how they do. They can always be pulled.
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Old 01-08-2017, 07:03 AM
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They should be pruned when dormant in winter and they can be heavily pruned hut will look like crap for a season. Early spring can also work but if you have a late heavy freeze it will kill new growth and may kill the plant.
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Old 01-08-2017, 07:28 AM
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Originally Posted by Garett View Post
I don't know wher eyou live, but chances are this time of year the boxwood is in it's domancy stage, if you do this type of heavy pruning now you'll just kill it. You really need to do this in the spring time when the plant is actively growing.
I don't agree with that. Prune when dormant. Most of the life of the plant is in the roots at this time of year.
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Old 01-08-2017, 07:35 AM
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Never cut a tree or bush when growing...always in dormancy is recommended
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Old 01-08-2017, 07:42 AM
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A further thought on the OP's pruning/shearing plans. I'd expect the boxwoods would be OK if you pruned them back as much as you plan, but I would recommend doing that over 2 growing seasons. Prune back to 4x4x4 this winter, then to 2x2x2 next winter.

What you should see each spring is new shoots appearing from dormant buds in the old-growth wood. Pretty common in any of the trees and shrubs I've pruned back drastically.
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Old 01-08-2017, 09:25 AM
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Originally Posted by yarcraft91 View Post
I find Garrett's answer puzzling. I grew up on a farms with apple, plum, peach, cherry and nectarine orchards. I've pruned fruit and shade trees, ornamental and fruiting shrubs for the well over fifty years and almost always done it during the dormant season. If we wanted to encourage new growth, prune when the plant is dormant. If we wanted to stunt a plant's growth, prune when the plant is actively growing. In my experience, it's very unlikely you'll kill a tree or shrub by pruning it.

Maybe the boxwood is entirely different. I've never had one to fool with.
The guy didn't ask about Boston Ivy, fruit trees or bamboo, he asked about boxwood. The guy can do whatever he wants with his bushes for all care, but until he tells us approx. where he lives he'll NEVER get the correct answer.
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Old 01-08-2017, 09:32 AM
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My experience with boxwoods is you can cut them off flat at ground and the damn things will grow back. Just sayin.....


And for Garrett this is central NC.
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Old 01-08-2017, 09:36 AM
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Pics needed.

Seriously.

What's the overall goal here?

May be best to plant a different type of shrub.
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Old 01-08-2017, 09:46 AM
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Chop the hell out of em and consider yourself lucky if they die.
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Old 01-08-2017, 09:52 AM
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Originally Posted by cphilip View Post
Chop the hell out of em and consider yourself lucky if they die.

That made me laugh......
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Old 01-08-2017, 09:54 AM
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Originally Posted by Jimm View Post
I don't agree with that. Prune when dormant. Most of the life of the plant is in the roots at this time of year.
X2...just has an arborist over the other day for some tree pruning. I asked him if I could prune / trim back my Ilex and Boxwoods at this time. He said "absolutely".
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Old 01-08-2017, 02:23 PM
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if you cut to 2x2x2 the new growth will be larger that what you cut them back to.
just saying if you want 3x3x3 the 2x2x2 shoiuld look OK after trimming the new growth
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Old 01-08-2017, 02:29 PM
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Originally Posted by 99yam40 View Post
if you cut to 2x2x2 the new growth will be larger that what you cut them back to.
just saying if you want 3x3x3 the 2x2x2 shoiuld look OK after trimming the new growth
This. You have to cut it back much future then you want the bush to allow for new growth.
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Old 01-08-2017, 03:01 PM
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Originally Posted by cphilip View Post
Chop the hell out of em and consider yourself lucky if they die.
^this
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Old 01-08-2017, 05:05 PM
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Best results would be to go over 2 seasons you need to make sure there is some green left when when u cut it back.

Fertilize them when u cut back, if possible use a liquid or water around them after you use the fertilizer. Then go back and fertilize them 1-2 more times in the spring.
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Old 01-08-2017, 05:52 PM
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Boxwoods can be pruned any time but late summer and early fall.
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