Heavy pruning boxwood

Asked January 14, 2015, 5:50 PM EST

I have an 40 year old hedge of variegated boxwood that is too tall and has bulged out on one side. My question is if I cut the height (which is about 4 feet) down one foot will it have trouble re=growing. The same for the side of the boxwood if I heavily prune them will they come back or will it remain bare stems? Also I am assuming that you would do this trimming in February as to let them have the time to regrow in spring, is that correct? Thanks Ron Glanville

Multnomah County Oregon pruning boxwood

2 Responses

Hi Ron,

Thank you for your question to Ask an Expert.

Boxwoods are slow to respond to severe pruning, so I would not prune them as you describe. Thinning is typically done to remove the oldest stems from the plant to allow regeneration of new growth. Here is a publicaiton with a good description for pruning boxwood:
http://pubs.ext.vt.edu/426/426-603/426-603_pdf.pdf
I would consider extending this project over several years making sure that you do not remove more than 1/3 of the leaf surface any one year.

Please let me know if you have any further questions.

Weston

Thanks that is very helpful.
Yours
Ron