columnar boxwood - too good to pass up

schoolhouse_gwAugust 10, 2008

At one of my favorite nurseries, the guy has maybe 16 columnar boxwoods started - each probably a foot tall. They look healthy, have strong upright growth already but not very full yet of course. He wants $4.95 a piece. I'm salivating and am trying to justify buying at least ten and healing them in somewhere on my property. I know it will be at years before they fill out and get some decent height, but a 10yr. colmnr boxwd is very expensive. I love them dotted about my formal garden, and with that many I could create something special....some day.

So, question. Where and how should I put these in the ground and nurture them? I was thinking of finding a sunny spot with some windbreak, plant them in a mound? What kind of soil bed should I prepare?

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Embothrium(USDA 8 Sunset 5 WA)

Main requirement good drainage, if climate marginal some shelter from cold winds may be needed also.

    Bookmark   August 10, 2008 at 2:51PM
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bboy, that's why I was thinking about - planting them in row, but on a mound. But, then I also got to thinking about the day I wish to transplant. What if it's three years down the line and the root system is well established, how do I dig them to plant elsewhere without injuring the roots? I'll have to ask the nursery guy about how and when they wrap the root ball in burlap. Or, maybe I'll move them into pots after I get them home from the nursery. He just has them planted in soil right now.

    Bookmark   August 10, 2008 at 5:42PM
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Dibbit(z7b SC)

To the best of my knowledge, even very old boxwoods can be moved after years in the ground with a good degree of success. I would space them widely enough that you will still easily be able to dig them up - wider than you may end up planting them in their permanent places. It's a LOT easier to have space all around a shrub to dig it up, rather than A) fighting with the branches of its neighbors, and B) cutting its neighbor's roots short, as well as cutting the desired shrub's roots short. You can't dig up a tree without damaging the root system to some degree, once it is beyond the seedling stage, so plan ahead to minimize the damage.

    Bookmark   August 10, 2008 at 6:03PM
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I'm going to think on this purchase some more. If I get them, I'll plant them in the ground per both your suggestions.

    Bookmark   August 10, 2008 at 8:38PM
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Embothrium(USDA 8 Sunset 5 WA)

Price is pretty low, might be worth jumping on it even if future uncertain.

    Bookmark   August 10, 2008 at 10:35PM
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flora_uk(SW UK 8/9)

Once you have some box it is quite easy to propagate from cuttings, so you can increase your stock yourself. I have various spheres, cones and columns which I have grown from clippings picked up from other people's hedge trimming. I also have a nice little variegated sphere coming along which I grew from a bouquet. Box cuttings root fairly easily just pushed into a pot of compost and although they grow relatively slowly it is a good way to get a lot of plants. It would take you about 2 years to make some more foot tall columns of your own.

    Bookmark   August 13, 2008 at 12:09PM
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Thanks for the info flora uk. I've never tried propagating boxwood from cuttings, but you have inspired me. Like you, I certainly have enough material to work with.

    Bookmark   August 13, 2008 at 2:41PM
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Update: Yesterday I paid a visit to that nursery. The very young columnar boxwoods that were just starting with five or six vertical branches, and at $4.95 each; they are now looking great a month later. Filled out at the bottom, still little, but knitting together just fine and have grown at least six inches or more. And, they are now $14.95...phffft. No, I didn't buy a single one back in August. I could kick myself.

    Bookmark   September 18, 2008 at 2:48PM
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prairiemoon2 z6 MA sorry to hear you missed your great deal. I have a few things that could make you feel is that if you take some cuttings of boxwoods, you would be amazed at how easy and fast they will amount to something. Secondly, Bluestone Perennials and Forest Farm probably have pretty small sizes. Not sure about Forest Farm, but Bluestone will sometimes have a 50% off sale in the late fall. They offer Green Mountain Buxus which is fairly columnar to 4-5ft. You never did say what variety it was that you were looking at.

Finally, mention to your nursery person that you were kicking yourself and wish you had bought some at $4.95, maybe he has some that size left in the back somewhere...or he might be planning on having that size again in the spring if you let him know you would be interested.


    Bookmark   September 18, 2008 at 7:25PM
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Thanks for the sympathy prairiemoon, there were no identifying tags on the containers, didn't think to ask either. The owner wasn't there Wednesday, but his daughter was; and when I whined to her about the fact that I would/should have taken them all at $4.95ea.; she asked me how many of them did I want now at $14.95 and she'd cut me a deal. I didn't know what to say because I don't have a real need for the shrubs at this time. It's something I'll have to think about.

Do you have a tried and true method for taking cuttings off boxwood? Like the best place to snip,ect? Stick them in pots first or right in the ground?

    Bookmark   September 19, 2008 at 7:08PM
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too bad you missed it. I think what the Christmas tree growers do for trees that they know will be dug up later is frequent root pruning. (not sure how frequent).

Another point about root pruning is that I have read that it is recommended to do the year before a well established tree is going to be moved. The root pruning causes new fine roots to get created and I guess the new roots transplant better than the old roots. I guess having the year to get ready reduces transplant shock for the real deal.

    Bookmark   September 20, 2008 at 9:44PM
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prairiemoon2 z6 MA


I am not an expert at propagating, but when I did it, I just took tip cuttings and stuck them in one of those under the bed plastic storage boxes that had a clear top and an opague body. I just mixed a little potting soil with mostly sand and wet it a little and stuck them in there with the cover on and left them in an area where there was a lot of light but no direct sunlight. I just kept checking to make sure they were stil moist and never had to do anything else.

I'm sorry but it was awhile ago that I did it, so I don't remember what time of year I did it. Certainly was easy enough and didn't cost anything to speak of to experiment. I may have bought a jar of rooting hormone and stuck them in there first. But...I know I have done cuttings without it too and had fairly good success, so I don't think that is a must but does seem to give more dependable rootings.

If you are seriously going to try it, I would post separately and ask for some instructions from someone with a lot of experience. [g]


    Bookmark   September 21, 2008 at 7:04AM
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chrmann(z7 AL)

My Dad told me to take tip cuttings of new growth in July. He was real good at propagating anything.

    Bookmark   October 16, 2008 at 6:49PM
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schoolhouse - where are you located in Ohio? I'm in the Dayton area and will probably have some nice Dee Runks available next May. These are one year old cuttings.

    Bookmark   October 16, 2008 at 9:43PM
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mrgpag I'd love one cutting, if you have it to spare next yr. Since I'm being a beggar feel free to decline. I could trade you a small rooted Korean Box - the little-leaf box for low hedging. I also have rooted Ilex Blue Princess - a meservae blue holly.

I searched on Dee Runks and couldn't find a picture but I'm interested in columnar boxwood that won't get more than 6-7' tall, or that you can top out to keep it low.


    Bookmark   October 17, 2008 at 10:29AM
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Alyrics, Sorry - these aren't trading material. If you're ever in the Dayton area holler and I'll make arrangements to show them to you. Do a Google image search on buxus sempervirens 'Dee Runk' and you should be able to see many images.

    Bookmark   October 18, 2008 at 6:01AM
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