Posted by Brent Wilson on 6/28/2016 to Fertilizing & Watering Tips
When planted right and in the right spot, Boxwoods are exceptionally easy to grow and care for.
Here's a breakdown of what you need to know regarding how to fertilize and water Boxwood plants...
Feeding Boxwood Shrubs
Boxwood shrubs will benefit from fertilization, especially when being pruned or sheared frequently. Fertilize them in spring with a slow-release shrub & tree food, preferably one that contains Sulfur and/or Iron for deep greening. Alternatively, you can feed with a natural organic plant food. To avoid stimulating new growth that could be damaged by an early frost, cease fertilization two weeks prior to the average first frost date in your area.
Feed boxwood growing in pots, planters or other containers as directed on the product label with a slow release granular fertilizer or water-soluble fertilizer listed for use in containers.
Soil pH is a measurement of the alkalinity or acidity of soil, which is measured on a scale of 1-14, with 7 as the neutral mark. Any measurement below 7 indicates acid soil conditions, and anything above 7 indicates alkaline.
Boxwood grow best in a slightly acid to slightly alkaline soil ranging from 6.5 to 7.5 on the pH scale. Most average garden soils fall between a pH range of 6.0 to 7.0.
Testing Soil pH
If you're unsure about the pH of your soil, and whether or not it's suitable for growing Boxwood, it's a good idea to test the soil pH in the planting area. You can quickly test soil pH with an inexpensive soil pH tester probe. To raise the pH (make more alkaline) you can add pelletized limestone to the soil. To lower the pH (make more acid) you can apply Soil Sulfur, Aluminum Sulfate, or Chelated Iron. Adding organic compost to the soil or using compost as mulch can also help to increase acidity and maintain acid soil conditions.
Learn More: About Soil pH And How To Test & Adjust It >
Watering Boxwood Shrubs
When young, Boxwood will require some water to establish a healthy root system. When established most varieties are quite drought tolerant. As with so many other ornamental plants, Boxwood will not tolerate constantly soggy or wet soil conditions, which can lead to root rot and other harmful plant diseases. So be careful to avoid overwatering them!
At Planting Time
Immediately after planting deep soak the soil in the planting area, including the rootball, to a depth equal to the height of the root ball. For an extra boost, you can water your newly planted Boxwood with a solution of Root Stimulator, which stimulates early root formation, stronger root development, reduces plant shock and promotes greener, more vigorous plants.
During The First Growing Season
In average garden soil you should not have to water your newly planted Boxwood every day. More often than not, this causes soggy soil conditions that can lead to root rot and other harmful plant diseases. In the absence of sufficient rainfall, water only as needed to keep the rootball and surrounding soil damp to moist. Keep in mind that deep soaking less frequently, allowing the soil to dry out somewhat before watering again, is much better than splashing just a little water on the plants every day. Shrubs planted during the winter dormant season, when plants are not actively growing and evaporation is much slower, will require much less water. Therefore, be extra careful not to overwater during winter!
When established, only during drought will Boxwood plants require irrigation. If you see new leaves wilting or the tips of new stems bending over during dry weather this could be a sign your plants could use a good deep soaking.
Boxwood growing in pots, planters and containers will require closer attention to soil moisture. Use the finger test frequently to check soil moisture until you have a good idea how long it takes for the top 1 to 2 inches of soil to dry out. When it does, give your plant a good soaking.
Note: When watering with an automated irrigation system it's best to set your timer to water during the early morning hours and not in the late evening or at night, which can lead to the onset of fungus and other foliage diseases. During the first few weeks after planting, check soil moisture often and adjust irrigation time if necessary to keep the soil moist, not wet.
Plant Long & Prosper!™
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