My boxwood bushes were fine this spring and early summer. Since July some of the leaves have been turning brown but other leaves look okay. I am worried I will lose the bushes as they don’t seem to be getting better. Can I do anything to save them?
The Gardener’s Answer
Hi, Karen: Are your boxwoods a new addition to the garden? If so, the problem is probably moisture related; even established plants require extra water during really hot and dry summers. If lack of moisture is the problem we certainly don’t want your shrubs to go into winter with these drought conditions; that would make the situation even worse. You can always take a sample to your county horticulture agent or to a local garden center to rule out any insect or disease issues. There are a few different insects that like boxwoods but in most cases they are not detrimental to the plants. You will want to avoid fertilizing your evergreens this late in the summer since doing so encourages tender new growth to emerge, making it very susceptible to frost/winter damage. You can feed your plants again next spring. A thin layer of mulch, no more than 2 inches, will help insulate the roots during the winter and will also help in retaining moisture. For now, remove all dead foliage and clean up all fallen plant debris. Prune out any dead parts and keep them watered.