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Boxwood is a very ancient plant, its use in landscape design is several hundred, and maybe thousands of years old. After all, it is difficult to imagine a plant that is as unpretentious as it is grateful to care and retains its decorative effect throughout the year. A hedge made of boxwood, if desired, can become a real work of art and decorate the site no worse than flowering shrubs.
Features of a boxwood hedge
Perhaps, the boxwood hedge has only one drawback - it grows too slowly. However, for the formation of borders from boxwood, this drawback can easily be turned into a dignity. And if you really want to get a beautiful hedge as quickly as possible, then you can plant already quite adult bushes, at the age of about 8-10 years. After all, boxwood easily takes root during transplantation, if it is done in the right way on time.
Otherwise, it is difficult to imagine the best plant for a beautiful and dense hedge. It has rather small, shiny leaves, which cling to branches in huge numbers. In addition, they do not fall off in the winter, which means that the site is decorative for all 12 months of the year. In terms of density and density of growth among evergreens, boxwood has no rivals. In the literature, you can find another name for boxwood - buxus, formed from its Latin name.
Plants perfectly tolerate any haircut and crown formation - they only begin to bush even more and grow in breadth. This property is actively used by professional phytodesigners to form garden sculptures of stunning beauty and originality from boxwood.
Attention! Plants of an evergreen buxus, planted in one row, are able to form a hedge 1 m wide and 1.5 m high.
In addition, boxwood bushes are incredibly unpretentious. They can successfully develop on different types of soils, they are not afraid of either the open sun or even a thick shade.
Buxus belongs to long-lived plants, it can live up to 500 years. This means that a hedge formed from it may well serve several generations. By the way, there is a legend among the people that a boxwood hedge is able to protect not only from prying eyes, but also from uninvited guests in the guise of evil spirits.
The best varieties of boxwood for hedges
Despite the typical southern origin of boxwood, in recent years, small hedges from this shrub can be found in the territory of the Moscow region, and in the Volga region, and in the Urals, and even in the southern part of Siberia. Of course, the most popular species is the evergreen boxwood (buxussempervirens). It tolerates even the Ural frosts quite staunchly and only needs protection from the too bright spring sun.
The most beautiful and at the same time relatively resistant varieties of boxwood for hedges are the following:
Of course, it should be understood that in rather harsh climatic conditions it is better not to take risks and plant the usual green form of evergreen boxwood. And varieties with bright colors are more suitable for regions with a relatively mild climate.
Planting a boxwood hedge
The planting of a hedge from a bucket must be taken seriously. Indeed, as noted above, this fence can be created for centuries and it is desirable that the most optimal place in all parameters was selected for it.
Planting site and soil preparation
Most often, a boxwood hedge is planted along an existing fence: from a chain-link mesh or a wooden one. In this case, the dense greenery of the shrubs will serve as reliable protection from prying eyes and at the same time decorate the site. In other cases, a boxwood hedge is planted where it is necessary to divide the site into zones. For example, the separation of a residential area from utility rooms or a vegetable garden.
Boxwood does not impose special requirements on the soil, but it will still develop better and faster on medium and light soils in terms of texture. It is important that moisture is present in the soil, especially in the upper layers. But especially in regions with a humid and cold climate, when planting boxwood, you need to pay special attention to good drainage in the soil. Since at a high level of standing groundwater, plants may soon die.
Soil acidity is not critical. Boxwood does not tolerate only highly acidic or saline soils.
In any case, before planting, it is necessary to prepare the site so that the planted hedge looks smooth and aesthetically pleasing, and the plants take root safely.
- To do this, first of all, mark the site of the future landing with the help of stakes and a rope stretched between them.
- Determine a strip with a width of about 40-60 cm and carefully mow all the grass and other vegetation on it.
- Then, using a conventional bayonet shovel, remove a layer of turf 5-10 cm deep from the beveled strip.The easiest way is to remove the turf in small pieces, with an area of about 25x20 cm.
- After removing the sod, if necessary, slightly loosen the soil in the resulting trench.
- If the earth is too dense and viscous (heavy loam), then peat or sand is poured on top at the rate of one bucket per running meter of the planting ditch. Stir.
The initial preparation of the site for planting boxwood hedges can be considered complete.
Further, for planting, you need to prepare several wheelbarrows with compost or humus. They will act as fertilizers that will need to be added to the planting mixture when planting boxwood bushes. Fertilizers to add to your planting mix are also great:
- wood ash;
- horn shavings;
- granular superphosphate;
- bone or blood meal.
At what distance to plant boxwood for curbs and hedges
The distance between boxwood bushes when planting a hedge is chosen based on the result that they want to get. If you plan to form a very dense hedge of strict geometric shapes, then the distance between the seedlings should be no more than 30-40 cm.If you prefer to see a freely growing hedge in which you can see all the natural beauty of the shrub, then the plants are planted at a distance of 50-80 cm.
If there is an intention to get a border from dwarf forms of boxwood, then no more than 15-25 cm is left between the bushes during planting.
When calculating the distance between boxwood bushes when planting, it is also necessary to take into account the individual characteristics of a particular variety. The above are only general average recommendations. If any unique varieties of boxwood are used for planting, then the width of an adult bush should be additionally found out in the nursery.
When placing boxwood plants in two rows, the bushes must be planted in a checkerboard pattern.
Attention! If you plan to plant a regularly trimmed hedge, then its width should not be more than 60 cm. Otherwise, caring for it will be too difficult.
Boxwood quite easily tolerates a transplant at almost any age, especially if seedlings with a closed root system are used. Most often, plants are used for planting hedges aged 3 to 8 years. The older the seedling, the more attention should be paid to its preparation for planting. The fact is that in the limited volume of the container, the roots of rather adult plants become so tangled and interfere with each other that they must be untangled and relaxed before planting so that they can immediately start growing when they come into contact with fresh soil.
The most tangled root tips can be carefully cut with scissors or pruning shears. This will not damage the boxwood, but will allow the roots to quickly recover and develop further.
Even at the stage of choosing seedlings, you should pay attention to the leaves. They should be fresh, firm and free of any stains (unless it's a decorative variety).
You can plant boxwood bushes with a closed root system at any time, from March to November, depending on the weather conditions in the region. Of course, it is advisable to carry out this process in cloudy weather.
The hedge planting technology is as follows:
- In the prepared trench, recesses are dug in the ground. Their depth roughly corresponds to the length of the roots of the seedlings, and their width is 1.5-2 times greater.
- The soil removed when digging holes is mixed in equal proportion with humus or compost. If desired, add other slow-acting fertilizers.
- Boxwood seedlings with straightened roots are placed in the grooves and carefully covered with planting mixture.
- It is important not to deepen the bushes too much so that the root collar is at the level of the soil.
- The soil around the seedlings is lightly tamped and watered.
- Then the bases of the bushes are mulched with a layer of peat, straw or rotted sawdust. It is not necessary to create too thick a layer of mulch. Its thickness of 4-5 cm is enough.
Boxwood hedge maintenance
Boxwood is an unpretentious plant and does not require any special care. Watering is necessary only in hot and dry weather. Fertilizers should be applied no earlier than 12 months after planting. It is better to replace loosening of the soil by constantly adding mulching material under the bushes. This will help protect the soil from weeds, and maintain moisture in the upper layers of the soil, and save on fertilization. Before the winter dormant period, the boxwood hedge is abundantly shed with water to saturate the soil with moisture and better overwinter the plants.
The most important procedure in caring for a boxwood hedge is a haircut.
Young boxwood plants grow very slowly, the annual growth can be literally 5-8 cm. With age and with proper pruning, the growth rate can slightly increase and reach 10-20 cm per year. However, much also depends on the variety chosen for planting.
In the first season after planting, boxwood plants are pruned only once, usually 1/3 or 1/2 of their total height, to allow multiple shoots to form at the base of the bushes. Starting from the second season, the plants are already pruned regularly, several times a year, at intervals of about 6 weeks. Pruning begins at the end of April or in May, with the establishment of relatively warm weather. The bushes begin to give the necessary shape even before they have time to close together or reach the desired height.
Important! The last shearing of boxwood must be carried out no later than one month before the onset of constant cold weather. This is necessary so that the new growth has time to mature enough and overwinter well.
If there is a desire to decorate a boxwood hedge with alternating decorative figures (balls, pyramids, waves), then templates are made from wire or wooden slats. They are fixed over the plants. Later, when cutting, remove all branches protruding beyond the boundaries of the established template. Thus, any sculptural composition from boxwood can be formed.
Photo of a hedge from boxwood
Boxwood hedges can be given almost any shape, as in the photo:
Boxwood hedges can be very low, more like a curb:
And also high and monumental, like walls:
They can twist in the form of fancy patterns:
And even in the form of labyrinths:
They can be decorated with all kinds of sculptural forms or whole compositions:
Serve as a backdrop for taller hedges:
Or flowering walls:
And also act as separate sculptural compositions decorating the site:
A hedge made of boxwood will certainly become one of the original decorations of the site. It will help to divide the territory into zones, protect it from uninvited glances, and will serve more than one generation of the family.