We got our roof cleaned with a bleach solution, which dripped on boxwoods in pots. They are now caramel colored and crusty (leaves). Are the roots okay and should I just cut them way back or are they done?
The Gardener’s Answer
Hello, Kimberley in Delaware: Bleach can certainly damage plant foliage and it sounds like your boxwoods have been burned by the bleach solution that was used to clean your roof. Unfortunately, the damage is done and there is not anything we can do to help them recover. Go ahead and get your pruners out and remove all the damaged foliage. The good news is that unless the bleach was absorbed into the soil the boxwoods should be just fine. You did not mention how much of the foliage has turned color, but hopefully it was just the tops of the plants that are showing signs of stress and the root system was not affected. You will know shortly if the plants are going to survive or not. If the entire plant has turned color and is crispy, then the chances of recovery are slim, but if the damage is minimal the evergreens should put on new growth and be fine in the long run. For now, make sure they receive sufficient moisture. Since they are growing in containers, this may require a daily watering routine in the heat of the summer and they may benefit from a dose of your favorite plant food.