Box Buxus Sempervirens - Common Box

There are many uses for box plants within our gardens – Garden designers use them to create form and structure within your garden and do this with great results

Using box balls in different sizes creating the structure & main form in this garden.  The great thing what happens in then when they are lined up together and planted, is they then create triangles of soil to use for more planting – great plants to use here are herbacoues plants such as salvias, delphiumns, geranmiums, Verbenas and others such as foxgloves giving colour throughout the year.

Box can be used as main structure of the garden – the one above also uses pleached hormheam creating a hedge on stilts – this will be for another day

Box balls and hedging are used extensively throughout our gardens but they don’t come without any issues – they can be tricky to care for but if you follow these guidelines, you will be in a good position to have healthy plants throughout the year

To keep box hedging or box balls healthy you have to:

Water them well throughout the year – the leaves should be a glistening green & regular watering will aid this.  The best way to water is using 2, 10 litre watering cans that a filled from a pre-filled reservoir such as a wheelie bin or water butt – its easy to quantify the amount of water each section gets as 2 watering cans = 20 litres – 2 cans can be used in & around 2 – 3 metres of linear hedging – if this is not accessible, a hose is sufficient but fill a 10 litre watering can to calibrate how long it takes to fill it – a usual water pressure takes between 60-90 seconds to fill – bare this in mind while watering.

Keep them well trimmed – its important to trim your box plants when they become ‘hairy’ using a sharp sheers – the main thing before doing this is to ensure your sheers is free from disease – its best practice to run a flame back & front of this to ensure its clean & ready for use – at this point a quick sharpen would be good too – after trimming, if let go somewhat ‘hairy’ you will have a lot of clippings on the ground – its important that these are picked up to keep the hedge/balls healthy.

Box plants – hedging and  balls are prone to box blight/fire blight.  This can occur a couple of times throughout the year and if your plants are healthy, box can be avoided but sometimes not – preventative measures are better here as the plants stand a better chance – there is a product called ‘Topbuxus’ which all good garden centre will stock – this can be used every 3 months or so on your plants which will reduce the occurrence of blight but never guarantees 100.  Blight is when you see the leaves of box going yellow /red and  sometimes fall off leaving the plants bare in some cases – the good thing with this is that if your plants get blight, the should bud again at bud break in spring where they can be treated again.

The box in the photo with the white housefront has some blight present in it – We took over the care of this garden and it was very bad with blight but its slowly coming back to full health.

Commercially, we use a product called ‘Systane’ to control Blight but you need a Professional User ID to purchase & use this product – Topbuxus does need a PU ID

An evergreen plant such as box, other examples used as structural plants are hollys, bay trees & yew fall from health quickly and will take a good lot of time to recover but they can & will recover with the correct treatment

Box plants are also a plant that needs regular feeding – this is carried out by feeding with chicken pellets 2/3 times per year – if you have box ball, a couple of hand fulls around the circumference of the plant will work – if you have a hedge, a hand full every metre, back & front will work

A couple of hand fulls around each of these box balls will keep your plant fed throughout the year

A healthy box hedge or box ball ball can be a substantial investment to your garden so does need the correct care & maintenance but if looked after will give your garden that structure and form it requires

This box hedge give form and structure to an front garden driveway – the hedge takes a good weekly watering, feeding a couple times of year, spraying with Topbuxus and a good trimming using a sterilised blade, then collecting all the clippings.

I hope that this is helpful to your growing of your box plants / balls / hedges – Please refer to it anytime to keep your plants healthy.

All the best.

Darragh and Team

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Darragh’s work is mainly in Dublin and North Wicklow. He regards himself as a person that carries out all work thoroughly, to the highest standard possible and takes pride in doing so.

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