Digging Up Boxwoods/Replacements?

ncnewbieJuly 13, 2007

Beware, I'm completely new to landscape design, and gardening in general. We just bought a house, and I want to really overhaul the landscape, starting with the front of the house. All that is planted along the front of the house is boxwoods, 12 of them to be exact. And they've been there for 7 years since the house was built, so they're mature in size, probably 3 x 3 each. The first problem I have with them is placement. They were placed too close together, and not at all in any kind of pattern. The spacing is nowhere close to even, even after trimming them trying to help. I could go on, but frankly, I've just decided I don't like them. They leave me very little room to do anything with the front beds of my house, even if I extended it. I want to just dig them up and start anew. I do like the idea of evergreens, a sort of backbone to the beds if you will, but not something so overpowering. I'd like something that stayed rather low to the ground, and gave me more options with perennials and annuals or other shrubs. So:

1) Can you recommend a different evergreen that would be hardy in eastern NC that doesn't get quite as big, but makes a good backbone for the bed?

2) I've read that boxwoods are best transplanted in fall, so that's probably when I'll undertake this. I'm sure I could find them a happy home. Can I also plant other evergreens at this time?

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At our last home, we planted Japanese Holly (Ilex Crenata Compacta). It doesn't have the sharp edges that most hollies have. The Compacta is a dwarf version. I had no trouble keeping it about 2-3 feet high as it took clipping well.
It's hardy between zones 6A to 8B (I don't know what your zone is). (It also doesn't stink like boxwood)

Fall is a good time for planting/transplanting. You may be able to find a new home for your boxwood via Craigslist or your county Freecycle pages.

Here is a link that might be useful: Compacta Holly, Japanese Holly

    Bookmark   July 13, 2007 at 12:15PM
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mjsee(Zone 7b, NC)

ncnewbie....You can plant pretty much anything in the fall in NC...assuming that I'm sussing out your name correctly. There are a few exceptions to that rule...

1) Gardenia jasminoides 'radicans' seems to do better when planted in the spring.
2) Grasses generally do better when planted in the spring/summer.
3) I think Crape Myrtles do better if planted in the spring/early summer.

Other than that...my experience is that everything else is happier planted in the fall.

You should have NO trouble finding someone to take 3 x 3 boxwoods off your hands. Boxwoods that size are expensive in a garden center.

    Bookmark   July 13, 2007 at 8:22PM
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Thanks for both your replies. And yes, I'm in NC, eastern to be exact =) We had boxwoods at our very first house over 10 years ago when we first got married. We planted them basically when they were not much over 12 inches high, and they did well. But these just seem to have no rhyme or reason to the planting. It's kinda like they were just thrown and where they landed they were planted. Way too close to the foundation, and each other. At first I was just gonna dig em up and replant them in a different location, b/c they are growing really nicely, but figured while I was going to all that trouble may as well just put down something I really like. Just wasn't sure what would be good. I'd hate to dig them up just to have whatever I planted after them die or look even worse :(

    Bookmark   July 13, 2007 at 8:56PM
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mjsee(Zone 7b, NC)

Ilex crenata is a GREAT plant...and the deer leave it alone.'Soft Touch' stays about 2 feet tall...gets about 3 feet wide. But I WOULD wait until fall to plant.

    Bookmark   July 14, 2007 at 12:46PM
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