Those boxwood shrubs are now little trees!

Discussion in 'Trees, Shrubs and Roses' started by Ronni, Mar 30, 2016.

  1. Ronni

    Ronni Hardy Maple

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    I don't have a photo yet, Ed's going to take one and send it to me shortly, but we need to trim the boxwood in the front of his house. The house was built in the 1930's sometime, and I swear the boxwood shrubs have been growing there since then, because they're almost trees!!!! You know how those kinds of ornamental shrubs should sit at the level of the window sill, so you can see out the window?

    Well his have grown so far up, that all you can see when you look out his living room windows are boxwood. They're that big, like small trees!! They haven't been trimmed way back in forever, other than occasionally he'd send one of his kids out there to take a bit off the sides and top.

    My son is going to go over this weekend to do some serious trimming. But my concern is that those bushes are practically trees at this point, so cutting them too far back is going to result in a lot of leaf loss. I don't know how to explain this....um....the inside of the bush is pretty much naked of leaves (all those branches) and because the leaves are needed to process the light I'm worried if we get rid of too much of the leaf mass it'll kill the bushes.

    What do I do? How to approach this?
     
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  3. toni

    toni Mistress of Garden Junque Staff Member Moderator Plants Contributor

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    Has he considered taking them out and letting you plant something prettier to look at ? There was a period of time when landscapers and gardeners just had to make their front lawn resemble the formal gardens of the great homes in the U.K. and France...and that meant trimmed boxwood and green grass.

    Replacing them with actual flowering plants and there are some beautiful flowering shrubs available now, would be much more esthetically pleasing to look at and a lot easier to maintain.
     
  4. Ronni

    Ronni Hardy Maple

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    I've mentioned it. He's not thrilled with the idea. He'd like to try getting them under control by pruning or shaping or whatever so we're going to try that first. Personally I don't think it's going to work...I don't think it will be aesthetically pleasing, produce the desired look. But I'm more than happy to try.
     
  5. toni

    toni Mistress of Garden Junque Staff Member Moderator Plants Contributor

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    Shrubs are usually trimmed in a boxy shape or a top heavy pyramid. That prevents sunlight from reaching the lower and inner branches and leaves do not grow making the shrub look dead and really ugly. If he insists on just trimming them they are going to look dead for a few months until (and if) more leaves appear since they have gotten that tall.
     



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  6. marlingardener

    marlingardener Mighty Oak

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    Ronni, I think you are right. Boxwoods don't respond well to severe pruning. If perhaps a foot was removed from their height this spring, and then another foot next year and on into mid-century, they would be all right. Ed may have to bite the bullet and just remove the boxwoods. There is a dwarf variety that might fit his needs better.
    The man is getting used to having color on his porch, don't press him about the boxwoods!:smt064
     
  7. Ronni

    Ronni Hardy Maple

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    image.jpeg
    Here's the photo....see what I mean????
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 30, 2016
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  8. Ronni

    Ronni Hardy Maple

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    I've gotten used to seeing the house, so I don't really get the impact of those shrubs when I drive in the driveway any more. But man!!! Seeing this photo really brings home to me how HUGE they are! I talked to him some about them last night. He still doesn't want to dig them out, but has a friend who is a landscaper who apparently can cut them back in a way that they won't be so ugly. I don't really think that's going to happen, (them not being ugly) but I'm sure willing to try.

    I did press home the point that so much more light will come into the living room if they're gone. He LOVES natural light, so that's big for him.

    Baby steps, right? ;)
     
  9. Ronni

    Ronni Hardy Maple

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    OK so my son Grayson is at Ed's for the weekend, doing a bunch of handyman stuff and outside yard work to help him out and earn a bit of extra money.

    Ed decided that it was time to just cut those boxwood WAAAAAAAAAY down! His rationale is that he doesn't want to wait years pruning them a bit at a time, so if they're cut all the way back and it kills them, we'll just rip them out and plant new. And if it doesn't they'll leaf out some by the end of the season, and more by next, and we'll have light in the living room and a much tidier (if a bit ugly,) front yard.

    I'm actually surprised by how they look. They're not gorgeous by any means, but they are a lot LESS ugly looking than I thought they'd be!
    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    .....and there's that spindly, leggy rose bush that I also posted about in another thread, to the far left of the picture.
     
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  10. Netty

    Netty Chaotic Gardener Plants Contributor

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    Looks great Ronni, I would have done the same thing. It looks so much better just being short.
     

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