Why are my established boxwoods beginning to brown and eventually die?

Asked May 20, 2018, 7:07 AM EDT

We have a row of boxwoods that were well established when we bought our house almost 15 years ago, so they are presumably decades older. Over the recent few years, a few of them have started to brown in spots which eventually grow. It started one plant and killed it entirely. Now it is spreading to the others. Is there anything that can be done? We live in a home in Bethesda near the DC line (Westgate neighborhood where Westmoreland Circle where Western and Mass AVE intersect)

Montgomery County Maryland

1 Response

The dead branch in your third photo suggests that there was a problem with root damage or vole damage to the trunk. All you can do is prune out the dead section. Older boxwood can decline due to a variety of stressors such as drought or excess water, excessive mulch, soil compaction, deep planting, the addition of soil over the root zone, and/or root injury. https://extension.umd.edu/hgic/boxwood-decline-trees-and-shrubs We recommend that you prune your boxwoods to thin out the canopy. Pruning will also stimulate new growth. Take a look at our video on pruning boxwood for guidance on how to prune them correctly. https://youtu.be/2U46_6bvkIA