Extreme trimming of dwarf English boxwoods

Asked June 13, 2013, 5:33 PM EDT

Our local retail nursery has recently obtained 24 fine Oregon-grown dwarf English boxwoods (buxus sempervirens suffruticosa). They did so to fill our order for 24 winter kill replacements (thankfully no blight) for about half of a mature 10-year old boxwood circle in our formal garden. We ordered 18"-20" high plants as the closest avsilable match to our existing hedge - in which the plants run about 17" high and 11" wide (17"x11" for short). We were willing to do an inch or two of trimming this early in the season. Our problem is that the new plants received average about 27"x22" - and are way too big for our formal garden circle. The local nursery has offered to trim them to the desired 17"x11" size. However, we are concerned about the way they would look - starting with this year - and even after another season. Also, would the plants remain healthy after such an extreme trimming? Even though we placed our order in mid-May, we just saw the plants for the first time yesterday - when the local nursery showed up to plant them. So we have to decide quickly what to do. Any immediate expert guidance you could give us would be a big help. Many thanks. Jim and Nancy Grace Wilton, Connecticut

Fairfield County Connecticut trees and shrubs pruning

1 Response

I wanted to check with one of our ornamental professors before getting back to you. We both believe that if the boxwoods were that severely trimmed, they would probably survive but it would take several years for them to gain back their looks. Losing this much foliage would be stressful and plants should be monitored during the growing season for any problems. I would consider checking out other nurseries in CT and NY to see if anyone can find you smaller plants. We really think that smaller plants would be the better choice.