View Full Version : Large Boxwoods want to die after moving them... Help!

07-20-2004, 06:35 PM

I have a dozen large boxwood bushes in my front yard that we are moving to a fence line in the rear of my house.

These bushes are about 7' across and 7' tall. I hauled them one at a time in a trailer behind my tractor. They were very hard to load too!

I moved three of them, just to see how they would do. I made large root balls, and moved them along with the bushes. The hole I placed them in was large enough to hold them, plus about 75% of the size of root ball, larger. I soaked the hole with water before placing the bushes in them, then filled them in with the dirt, and then watered them in again.

I have kept the dirt around them watered. I live in Fayetteville NC, which is in the sand hills area of Eastern North Carolina. The dirt is very sandy. Everything that I have planted here has grown well though.

One of the three bushes has turned a dried herb color, and the leaves are all dangling. I don't know what to do for this bush. The other two, which are next to the one that is dying, are doing fine so far.

Any ideas on a cure, or how to help this before it dies completely?

I also have the other 9 bushes to move. Any suggestions on how to make the move without harming them?



D Felix
07-21-2004, 12:57 AM
Wait until fall to move the rest.

For shrubs that size, unless it was absolutely unavoidable, I would not dig them now.... It's too hot, and they need all the roots that they have to be able to uptake adequate water.


07-21-2004, 11:21 PM
Boxwoods need to be root pruned before transplanting them. Root prune in summer, make sure to keep them watered and move them in fall. Ever since ive root pruned boxwoods i have not lost one yet, knock on wood.

07-21-2004, 11:29 PM
Yep. Like NCSU said...root prune now dig this fall or winter. Now is the absolute worst time to try and dig.

07-22-2004, 12:07 AM
Thanks for your input. Now all I need to do is buy a book that explains what root pruning is.

I'll follow your advice and root prune now, and move them in late fall. Thanks.


07-22-2004, 12:28 AM
Root pruning is spading around the plant as if you were gonna dig it. Just inserting the spade into the ground so as to trim the roots. Not digging. Forces the roots to form a tighter root ball.

07-22-2004, 05:53 PM

I'll do that today.


07-24-2004, 02:18 AM
shear or prune back the 3 that you transplanted heavily, that may help quite a bit. some water soluble fert will also help. you may need to water once in morning, once in evening since it is so sandy.

as long as the leaves arnt crispy, you stand a good chance of saving them.

after you prune them back if they still wont take, you may have to go into the middle and start selectively pruning out branches. if they are "loose" then trim into shrub about 2 feet, if they are tite, as in sheared heavily throughout its life, then you will only be able to nip out branches about 3 inches into plant.

the key is to lessen he water requirements.

you can also get root stimulator at the store, that will help alot, if not that, any hting with alot of phosphorous will do.

then wait to dig the rest.

i must say 7x7 is cery ambitious, good luck!

D Felix
07-24-2004, 09:45 AM
I would not fertilize them, unless it is only P in the fert. Some Mychor might be fine, but certainly not anything with ANY nitrogen. Nitrogen will just push new growth that the roots obviously will not be able to keep up with.

Your best bet is to keep them well watered. If there's any way to erect a shade structure over those that have been moved, that might help too.


07-25-2004, 01:30 AM
Thanks folks.

I have root pruned the ones not moved, and I am keeping the moved ones well watered. They are in partial sun, mostly shade.

I also went in and trimmed them back quite a bit. Previously, such as over the past two years, I had went in to these boxwoods, and punched holes in them, pruning out sections of the bush, then letting it fill back in. This seemed to make them better bushes, no crust, and good strong growth from the inside.

No crispy leaves yet, but one bush is very sad looking.

Thanks for the great advice.


07-26-2004, 05:38 PM
Is root pruning more necessary on some species than others?

I x-planted at home, over the past two weekends,

(3) emerald eunoymous (sp?)
(2) dwarf alberta
(4) crimson pygmy barberry
(2) dense yew
(2) bird's nest spruce
(4) Holly
(1) Blue pacific juniper
(8) Globe arbortivaes in the dumpster. I hate those things.

All of these shrubs were around 8 yrs old. I'm redoing the entry to my house, so I would like for these to survive, but would have been satisfied with a 80% or so survival rate. I would be hesitant to transplant for a customer this time of year. Actually, I recently did 3 yews for a customer, that were already stressed, plus they don't receive daily water (weekend home) and they don't look like they're gonna make it.

Last week was very hot & humid. All have received lots of water, slow release fert, and compost. They all seem to have taken and look good -- all except for the blue pacific with is a little droopy.

Wow. Sorry to ramble like that. so, the original question:

Is root pruning more necessary on some species than others?