Boxwood disease?

Asked April 12, 2018, 8:56 AM EDT

Hello, Thank you in advance for any insights you may have regarding our boxwood bushes in the front and back of our house. We have lived in this house for three years and fertilized our bushes and trees with stakes each year. Until these year they have been a robust green. Now as you will see it appears that branches are dying. Can you help us? Thank you, Mike and Rebecca

Montgomery County Maryland shrubs winter damage abiotic issues

1 Response

Mike and Rebecca,
It looks like your boxwoods are showing symptoms of winter damage. This past winter has been tough on many broadleaf evergreens. Leaf scorch injury can occur on dry, windy, warm or sunny winter days when the ground is frozen. Plants are unable to move water from the frozen soil to replace the water being lost from the exposed leaves. Leaves curl and droop, then brown from the tips and margins, giving them a scorched appearance. There is no cure for this. Wait to see where new growth develops on the plants this spring and then prune out any dead branches. https://extension.umd.edu/hgic/winter-damage-trees-and-shrubs
The pattern of die-back in the middle boxwood (second photo) suggests there might be root problems. Again, the best thing to do is prune out the dead branches. Boxwoods take pruning well and new growth will develop if the plant is healthy.
We do not recommend using fertilizer stakes. The fertilizer does not disperse well in the soil and you can get high concentrations of salt where the stakes are placed. This can be damaging to roots. Here is information about fertilization:
https://extension.umd.edu/hgic/fertilization-trees-and-shrubs

ckc