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Boxwood help?

Discussion in 'Turf Renovation' started by waldo98998, Apr 1, 2006.

  1. waldo98998

    waldo98998 LawnSite Member
    from Atlanta
    Posts: 7

    I have a cusomer that has several boxwoods lining the front of his house. He wants me to basically chop 3 feet off the top, thus, leaving no foliage at the top of the plant. can this be done or will it kill the plant?:confused:
  2. QualityLawnCare4u

    QualityLawnCare4u LawnSite Gold Member
    Posts: 3,758

    Waldo, I have a client that has several of these, huge, have to get on a ladder to trim. Last year about this same time he also wanted 3 feet took off of them and I cut them back like he requested. They were ugly but now have come back out healthy and green show know signs of any stress or none died at all. Im sure their are more experts on here that can tell you more about shrubs than me but this has been my experience with them. In my area folks wait until shrubs are horrible then want them cut to the dirt to save money and hope they dont need doing again for awhile. Why the heck have something if its not going to look good?

    TURFLORD LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 834

    It's perfectly ok to do that on ilexes. If you did that to true boxwoods you might have a problem. "True" boxwoods are very compact and slow growing and have a unique aroma in the Spring. If they're just ordinary ilexes, it's quite healthy to do such a thing every once in a while. The rule is 1/3 of the mass but ilexes can be hacked to the ground and they'll come back. I just did that for the customer in my "Smack'em" thread. The original plants were too far apart and needed to be infilled after pruning down the ilexes.
  4. waldo98998

    waldo98998 LawnSite Member
    from Atlanta
    Posts: 7

    That is exactly the case here.
  5. dtelawncare

    dtelawncare LawnSite Member
    Posts: 227

    I just bought some Japanese Boxwoods and the tage said they could be pruned at any time during the year. If I understand you correctly, if I butcher them in a few years, it may kill them correct.
  6. topsites

    topsites LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 21,653

    omg ... ok so

    You can take a plant, any plant as far back as you want so long that you leave sticks that have SOME leaves! Technically a plant needs only ONE leaf left to survive but that's pushing things to the extreme, I would say it needs anywhere from 6 - 12 individual leaves to fairly guarantee survival. Yes I know the leaves on a boxwood are small, about a dozen is good but half a dozen should be enough - they need to remain attached to the stick or stem and the stem needs to remain a part of the plant that's left in the ground, there usually are always a few leaves near the bottom but watch it - cut too far and your plant is done.

    To play it safe, several sticks (3-4) all with a few leaves is best.

    This is because plants live and breathe so they process nutrients via photosynthesis which involves sunlight shining on the leaves. Without photosynthesis, the plant dies because this is how a plant grows. With photosynthesis, you have life and it happens through the leaves, so no matter what you do, so long leaves are connected and you do not traumatize it excessively, it should live.

    Chance of survival in cases of extreme prunage: 85% maybe 90% ... yeah, some die regardless. shouldn't abandon them, they get all depressed when lonely :)
  7. Dirty Water

    Dirty Water LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 6,799

    This is why cut grass for a living and don't prune plants.

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