Hard pruning big buxus
danielsayceadams Posts: 6
At the estate I work at there is an old (not sure how old, but the trunk is 10cm-15cm and it's about 5m tall) buxus sempervirens that has been neglected over many years and wants cutting back. To cut it back to be in line with the stone wall it sits behind we'd have to cut about 3ft into the foliage, just leaving bare trunk. Will this kill it? And if not, will foliage grow again from the main trunk?
Last edited: 02 February 2018 20:09:13
No problem cutting into the wood on Buxus, they regenerate fine. I be a bit reluctant though I've never seen one so big 5M , it must be quite a age to get so big.
If it needs cutting back though get on with it and give it a generous feed, best to do it in stages if possible.
Last edited: 02 February 2018 20:53:11
I'd be a bit cautious with box that old. I did a hard prune on our 6-7ft box hedge (well over ten years old) and the trunks have not re-sprouted two years later , although the very top of the hedge is fine. These trunks are quite pale though (so show up more - very annoying) much paler than yours seem to be.
I would assume that because of the great age of your box tree, if you pruned it very hard, it might just turn up its socks and die - do you really need to do it?
Alternatively, could you just cut off one branch and see what happens?
Best of luck anyway, whatever you decide to do.
Thanks Perki. There's a long hedge with several trees in it. I think I might try one and see how it goes. What would you suggest as a feed?
Actually, looking at my photo again, has anybody any ideas what I could cover up the bottom half /bare bits with? There is lots of ivy on a dwarf wall under the box hedge, old wire fencing on top of the wall and the soil is rock hard clay infested with ivy roots -I'm a bit stumped at the moment.
Interesting Lizzie27, doesn't sound promising.
Does anyone else have some advice?
I got this off the RHS website for renovation of evergreen shrubs. hope it helps.
Renovation of neglected shrubs
If you inherit a garden full of neglected shrubs or have a plant that is overgrown and choked with branches, you can try to rejuvenate it by pruning.
Some shrubs can be severely pruned just as growth begins in mid-spring. Spotted laurel (Aucuba), box (Buxus), camellias, Choisya, Euonymus, hollies, Pieris, laurels (Prunus laurocerasus and P. lusitanica), Viburnum tinus and yew all tolerate severe pruning to near ground level.
Other evergreens are often best renovated over several years, removing one-third to half of shoots to ground level, and reducing all other shoots by one-third in the first year. Over the next couple of years, each year remove half of the older shoots to ground level.
Following renovation apply a general-purpose fertiliser and mulch and avoid drought stress in the following season.
The best mulches are garden compost / manure, fish blood and bone / bone meal / growmore are some fertilisers you can use.
I would apply a heavy mulch to help break up the clay, it will increase the chose of plants dramatically and if you can remove the Ivy roots. Geranium Macrorrhizim or maybe geranium phaeum will grow in it now. You can add astrantia / brunnera / astilbe / tiarella / actaea / helibore / J anemone etc if the soil improved , they may grow in it now but they wont like it drying out or getting waterlogged. Euonmymus fortunei would look nice there as well.
Thanks Perki, some good suggestions there.
When the weather warms up/dies up, I'll see if can get out there and dig some planting holes. I've already put down quite a thick mulch of garden compost and have a Euonymus already at the top end, but's its quite slow growing in this area at least. I might see also if I can get the holly in the ground instead of the pot, as this would lower it a bit which might hide more of the bare bits of the box hedge.
Thanks. Here's another photo for some context. Does anyone have an estimation for how long the hedge would look crap for after cutting back? I mean, how long would it take for the foliage to fill out the bit that's been trimmed.