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Boxwood Update: Any signs of growth after last winter's deadly blow?

Boxwood seen on July 17, 2019.
Photo: Mary Meyer, Extension Horticulturist and Professor
Back in May in the Yard & Garden News,  I wrote about my boxwood knot in the front yard and  how it had showed severe damage from winter kill with entire sections of the plant showing brown leaves.

At the time, I thought about 20 percent of the plant was injured (okay, killed--it's still tough to say this word!) with my knot hedge or garden. And so I did nothing and was waiting to watch the plants grow out of the injury and cover the brown areas.

This has NOT happened….slowly there is some new growth, but I am NOT pruning at all this year.

Will my boxwood survive?

Next year, I hope the plants have recovered enough to grow and cover the brown. I did prune out some of the brown and what is left is an empty space…top to almost bottom in the hedge where thin sections are open and still dead.

I never would have guessed that the hedge was so injured that it would not recover from the damage.
The injury was much worse than what showed in the loss of green.  Otherwise, it would have regrown by now.

On the bright side, it is one less garden chore…and a tiresome chore at that. But I have to say, I miss trimming the boxwood knot and seeing how nice it looked.

Let’s hope that the coming winter is kinder and we see a new growth next spring.

Author: Mary H. Meyer, Extension Horticulturist and Professor
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Comments

  1. A friend had significant damage to her many boxwoods. She went to the hardware store and bought green spray paint. The dead sections that she painted really look good, and she is also waiting to see how they recover over the next year or two.

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    1. I hope the paint does not affect photosynthesis of the living barts of the plant, and likely paint only went on the dead part. Interesting idea! Can you send a photo? Thanks, Mary Meyer

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  2. I understand that many of us had severe damage to our Burning Bushes. Ours has only had very sparse leafing out, mainly at the bottom of the bush. Is there any chance it will come back better next year, or should we remove it now? If most of the branches are dry and brittle, I'm guessing there's no hope for it.

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    1. Any branches with no leaves are dead and will not leaf out, if they have not done so by now. We do not know why burning bush was so affected this year, but for most of these plants, all new growth will come from the roots. Its your choice to wait while the plant regrows from the base or to replant and start over.

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  3. Mary, I have a photo of the painted boxwood but don't know how to get the pic to load in this space. Any ideas?

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    1. It is not possible to upload the photo here, but you can email the photo to afnr@umn.edu and we can pass it along to Mary.

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  4. Maybe food coloring is a better option so it doesn't interfere with photosynthesis.

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