Friday, April 03, 2009

Help! My boxwoods are dying

About five years ago, I noticed a dead branch on one of my boxwoods as we came out of winter.

I cut the dead branch, thinking perhaps the snow had weighed it down and broken it.

The dying continued. And so it continues to this day, a branch at a time.

These are current photos, taken Monday. The first boxwood has long since died and been removed.

I had five boxwoods and now I have four. The one on the end is half dead.

Grandma Firebaugh gave us these boxwoods 20 years ago. I planted them and they thrived. Then the branches began dying one by one.

She has passed away. She was the one person who might have known what was wrong with my plants. She was a great gardener.

The only thing I could come up with was mites. I have sprayed and sprayed and put down all sorts of pesticides for mites.

It hasn't helped.

I found some information that indicates it could something called English Boxwood Decline that affects boxwoods after they are 20 years old. It says there is no cure, though.

It also says it can be caused by drought, which actually is when this started appearing, after the drought earlier this century.

The death has spread to yet another boxwood and I am loathe to give up on my lovely shrubs. Does anyone have any ideas?


  1. i have no ideas. but my heart is breaking for you over the loss of your boxwoods. what a precious gift from your grandmother and a wonderful daily reminder of her. so sad. i hope you find a solution. perhaps try a nursery in your area.

  2. It's painful to see treasured plantings die! I would suggest taking a damaged branch into a good nursery or maybe the cooperative extension office, where their gardener can have a look. Also, Andre Viett (?SP) has a call-in radio show where people can ask their gardening questions. I'm sorry I don't know the day/time, but I think it's on NPR.

  3. Oh no! I planted several English Boxwoods in front of our house; now I wonder if they will last. I'm going to Dr. Google and see if I can find anything.

  4. OK, there is something called "English Boxwood Decline", and there is nothing you can do for it. The expert said to replace them with American Boxwoods.

  5. Oh dear, I'm so sorry! I had to replace all of mine too. Mine were invaded by some sort of drought pest that leaves cocoons dangling from the bush. They were awful.

  6. I can feel your pain. Same thing here along with two azaela bushes.

  7. No fun. I would second the idea of taking a sample to a local nursery and seeing what they have to say. I did that with a rot that grew on my peach tree and it helped me treat it.

  8. Sorry to hear this on several fronts...your personal loss, and too, the fear that this problem will spread throughout the region.

  9. Could you try taking some healthy cuttings and rooting them to plant in a different spot? At least you could keep the line alive for sentimental purposes, even if it takes a while to get them to grow. I don't know how hard boxwood is to root, but maybe you could stick a new growth branch in a green jar of water with a peeled willow twig. I am very sentimental about plants, and would love to see you able to keep at least a remnant alive!

  10. Very sad news! I agree about taking cuttings. I grew up playing in the English Boxwoods that towered around my grandmother's house. We'd terrify ourselves with teasing the spiders and collect the seeds that looked like tiny fox faces to us. Our folks didn't trim them back and they grew as tall as the house. Eventually I think they died, they were gone after I moved away and came back.

  11. How sad... we don't have any boxwoods on our property.....


  12. No help from me but I am so sorry that they are dying, especially given the sentimental attachment to them :( Hope you can find a cure!

    We had, I am told, boxwoods that were extremely old. They were here before my neighbors mother in law moved in in the 40's. The past owners, cut them out and put these puny crepe myrtles in their place, ugh! I couldn't understand why someone would pull out something so old but now I'm wondering if maybe they were doing what yours is. I do have some other boxwoods around the house, some seem like their growth has stopped, and others seem like they are thriving.

  13. Tanya, your crepe myrtles will flower. They'll look beautiful. I heard you can keep them trimmed like a bush, or let them grow tall like a tree. We had a whole "wall" of them.

    Aw, that's too bad about the boxwoods. I would also try rooting some of them.

  14. There are three possible reasons with the root infection from fungus the main cause. Check out this site:




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