February – Boxwood Care, Tips From Dave Bradford

The following is an excerpt from Dave Bradford’s newsletter. He is a former Jefferson County Extension agent, and can be reached at the following websites if you need an onsite consultation.



  • Pruning Boxwoods is best done this month if possible. I visited a home last week with some beautiful 6 to 7 foot Boxwoods. They had already been pruned. These plants were mostly sheared to give the shape that the homeowner wanted. I think Boxwoods look more natural pruned with hand pruners and not power shears. One point to remember about pruning is that where ever a Boxwood stem is pruned, growth in the Spring starts just below the cut. If you only use power shears across the the outside, then all the growth occurs at that point. Years of this kind of pruning often results in ‘leggy plants’ and maybe more disease issues. Shears are best used on edging type Boxwoods. The healthy way to prune may be to use hand pruners to get growth from down inside the plant and occasionally use power shears in combination to keep them at the height you want.
  • Winter Dormant spraying on Boxwoods is a good practice. We use Horticultural Oil + (this year) Bifenthrin. This spray is helpful in controlling Mites, Black Twig Borer, and occasionally Scale insects. It’s not a cure all, but it’s a good practice. The problem we all have had is finding suitable weather conditions to spray.