Cutting boxwood: These are the most important steps

garden tips
Cutting boxwood: The small art of the gardener

Cutting boxwood requires a bit of skill and a sense of proportion as well as a pinch of creativity.

© Christin Klose / Picture Alliance

Boxwood adorns many German front gardens as mighty spheres, elegant spirals or proud pyramids. Here we reveal how to keep the evergreen shrub in good spirits and in good shape.

Gardeners are rarely referred to as artists. There is always work to be done in the countryside, which requires not only a little manual skill but also a pinch of creativity. It may sound a bit strange: but with the large hedge trimmer in hand, many allotment gardeners become little artists every summer. And emulate the ancient Romans, who framed their garden beds with boxwood more than a thousand years ago and kept it in precise shape. The evergreen and robust boxwood has now conquered gardens, parks and front gardens all over the world. And with its often extravagant cut and creative shapes and figures, it outshines many of its peers there.

But when should you cut a boxwood and what else is there to consider? The star clears up.

The best time for coarse and fine cuts

Like most hedge plants, the boxwood is a robust regeneration artist. In other words, he doesn’t mind if you bother him with the hedge trimmer several times a year. If you want to make an impression over the summer with a creative book, you should get your hands on it for the first time in the spring. It is important that the bush has not yet formed any new shoots. With this rough cut, the boxwood already gets the shape it should have in summer.

When it comes to fine-tuning or fine-cutting, you should wait until the beginning of May. In most regions of Germany, the new shoots are then already a few centimeters long. Ideal for giving the evergreen shrub a smart spring look. There is a simple rule for the time after that: the more detailed the boxwood figure, the more frequently it should be trimmed.

Important: Cut with all the euphoria never more than two thirds of the fresh shoots.

Anyone who has bordered their garden with a boxwood hedge can still put their feet up in the spring. Experts recommend getting the hedge in shape in July. All you need is a sense of proportion, a bit of practice and a steady hand. For simple geometric creations such as spheres, cuboids or pyramids, templates can be used, which you can easily make yourself with some solid cardboard or thin wooden slats.

Tip: In the case of a rainy and damp July, you should postpone the hedge trimming to protect the box from fungal diseases such as box tree dieback.

Cutting boxwood: This is the right tool

As with most other garden tools, the gardener can choose between manual and battery operation when it comes to hedge trimmers. The tool of choice is and always will be a bit a matter of taste. With boxwood, which tends to have thin shoots, you save with one battery-powered shrub shears however, a lot of time. In the case of shrubs with thicker branches, their cutting power is often not sufficient. Here it is better to go for the traditional one hedge trimmer. It is important that the blades are as short as possible for an accurate shape cut.

Tip: It is best to use a model with finely serrated blades. This will give you a better grip on the boxwood shoots. There is less risk of the branches slipping and the cut becoming fibrous and unclean.

You should also make sure that the blades of the scissors are sharp. Anyone who prunes boxwood with blunt “weapons” risks wounds that fungi are only too happy to exploit.

Cutting boxwood: where to put the clippings?

First of all, with a simple trick you can not only protect your back, but also save a lot of time. Before working on the box, wrap an old tarp or something similar around the plant. Even the finest clippings no longer fall onto the lawn or bed and no longer have to be laboriously collected from there. Unfortunately, Buchs takes a lot of time when composting. Therefore, shred the clippings a bit with a shredder and layer them with some lawn clippings in the compost.

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