Large Boxwoods want to die after moving them... Help!

Discussion in 'Turf Renovation' started by YardMeister, Jul 20, 2004.

  1. YardMeister

    YardMeister LawnSite Member
    Messages: 56


    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?


  2. D Felix

    D Felix LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,898

    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.

  3. NCSULandscaper

    NCSULandscaper Banned
    Messages: 1,557

    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.
  4. Avery

    Avery LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,389

    Yep. Like NCSU said...root prune now dig this fall or winter. Now is the absolute worst time to try and dig.
  5. YardMeister

    YardMeister LawnSite Member
    Messages: 56

    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.

  6. Avery

    Avery LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,389

    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.
  7. YardMeister

    YardMeister LawnSite Member
    Messages: 56


    I'll do that today.

  8. Ice_Gargoylle

    Ice_Gargoylle LawnSite Member
    from indiana
    Messages: 60

    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!
  9. D Felix

    D Felix LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,898

    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.

  10. YardMeister

    YardMeister LawnSite Member
    Messages: 56

    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.


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