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Box hedge caterpillar 2022

It has started - i picked up more than 50 today and started spraying with Xentari.
Not very hopeful thought - they looked terrible last year - if even sprinkled them with rock dust this year. It’s so frustrating, are your hedges also already infested by caterpillars?
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  • AnniDAnniD Posts: 9,628
    Not yet, but l'm certain they're just biding their time.
  • GardenerSuzeGardenerSuze South NottsPosts: 1,180
    @katrinkemp My box are fine at present but I say it in a whisper! Do you know if it is spreading North? I have already invested in Euonymous Green Pillar as a back up. 
  • katrinkempkatrinkemp KentPosts: 74
    @GardenerSuze I‘m all the way south in Kent so fingers crossed for you. Good you are prepared though. I’ll look into Eonymous. Can you shape them into balls easily? I am so close to give up on the box hedges. It’s so frustrating 🤪
  • Lizzie27Lizzie27 SomersetPosts: 9,262
    I've dug all mine up. Had 8 large box balls and 6 hedges. All decimated and I didn't want to keep spraying. However I also don't want the upkeep any more - getting too old for the constant bending when trimming them.
  • GardenerSuzeGardenerSuze South NottsPosts: 1,180
    @katrinkemp No you won't get a ball shape, perhaps a Pittisporum like Golf Ball would be better.  Euonymous Green Rocket[sorry got name wrong before] grows pillar shape. You can see them clipped in the GC's but not so tight as box.
    Saw a TV programme where the following were recommended for topiary.
    Lonicera Nitida Maygram, Taxus Repandens ,Pittisporum, Podacarphus Nivalis,Corokia Frosted Chocolate and C Silver Ghost. Also Berberis Thunbergii Orange Rocket and Leptospermum Grandlflorum. 
  • katrinkempkatrinkemp KentPosts: 74
    @GardenerSuze very helpful thanks - I love my box hedges - but it’s just to frustrating.
  • GardenerSuzeGardenerSuze South NottsPosts: 1,180
    @katrinkemp You may have seen it but there is a lovely photo of E Green Pillar. Go to Hedging[or plant]for a small trough. Simple and beautiful.
  • KeenOnGreenKeenOnGreen Posts: 1,630
    We got rid of all of our Box a few years ago, too much work to look for the Caterpillars, and we don't like to spray any chemicals on the garden.

    Euonymus Green Spire/Pillar has the nearest colour/leaf size to Box that I know of, but as the others say, it wants to be a column shape.  We have Pittosporum Golf Ball and Midget. They have a much paler leaf colour, and won't grow as large as Box can. If you want something which grows beyond 2 feet, then I would choose a different cultivar of Pittosporum.  P. Green Star and P. Wrinkled Blue are two of my favourites.


  • katrinkempkatrinkemp KentPosts: 74
    ok - i haven’t given up just yet and spent 2 hours today picking more than 100 caterpillars out the boxhedges today. I hope it was worthwhile🙏🏻🙏🏻🙏🏻🙏🏻 Or are they multiplying to fast anyway and it makes no difference?
    What am I doing with 🐛 them now?
    The new green of the boxhedges is so beautiful I can’t give up the fight just yet - and i have quite a few hedges and other shapes🤪
  • AnniDAnniD Posts: 9,628
    Like you, l have seen caterpillars on my box plants today, my OH has just appeared at the back door with the first one he's seen. I knew they were about as l'd seen sparrows eating them this morning, and l'd found one on a neighbour's plant last week.

    There are a couple of things you can try, first of all the nematodes to attack the caterpillars 
    https://www.greengardener.co.uk/product/nemasys-fruit-and-vegetable-protection-box-tree-caterpillar/

    If any slip through the net as it were, you can then try pheromone traps to kill the moths
    https://www.greengardener.co.uk/product/box-tree-moth-buxus-trap-lure/

    (Other suppliers of these items are available).

    I have left it to my OH to decide what to do, we have box hedges and balls in the front garden and also box hedges and pillars in the back garden. I dug out one hedge that was decimated last year. If it was up to me l'd get rid, but they are his "thing".

    If you are prepared to wage war and be vigilant it may be possible to keep on top of it, but it won't be easy. I know what you mean about the lovely fresh growth, it has covered up the damage on the least attacked plants here, but now it's going to start all over again 🙁
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