leaves on boxwoods

Asked April 18, 2016, 8:04 AM EDT

I planted 8 English boxwoods last year. They all have new growth now, but 4 of the plants have sections/stems where the leaves have turned a coppery color and there doesn't appear to be new growth. Should I prune the tips, the entire stem, or just leave it alone?

Harford County Maryland shrubs boxwood winter damage

1 Response

Looks like winter damage on the boxwood. Leaves turn from bronze to reddish brown as a result of exposure to cold, dry winter winds. Tissue death is caused by the removal of water in the leaves faster than the plant can replace it through root uptake from frozen water in the soil.
Winter damage can be reduced by locating plants in partially shaded areas protected from winter winds and maintain adequate soil moisture in the fall to prevent winter dessication. See our boxwood publication for more information on winter injury and general information http://extension.umd.edu/sites/default/files/_images/programs/hgic/Publications/HG52_IPM_Boxwood.pdf
Wait and see what recovers. If it does not, the shrubs would benefit from thinning. This opens up the plant to good air circulation and sunlight. See the above pub.