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Late Winter Boxwood Pruning

Classic Minimalism in the Landscape by Teacup Gardener

Color and Structure Outdoors by Teacup Gardener

Winter is here in the South and there is no changing it. We may be able to steal a few warm days every once in a while, but for the most part we will be cold for the next four to six weeks or so. Besides waiting for the daffodils to poke their heads through the ground, what is there to do in the garden on those nice days when a person just has to get outside.

Late winter is a great time to deadwood and cloud prune boxwoods. Deadwooding is a term used to describe trimming or snapping out all the dead internal branches of a boxwood so that new growth can form and keep an old boxwood full and lush. Cloud pruning is a term used to describe a pruning technique that lends a soft airy texture to boxwoods that also allows new growth to form on the inside of big old boxwoods.  Cloud pruning is a method of pruning each cluster of branches as a whole with the intent to round off the branch clusters.  This creates an overall appearance of a cloud with a nice natural lumpy puffy look when the pruning is completed as opposed to the mechanical human-made perfectly rounded look.

Pruning in late winter, before bud break encourages the boxwood to put on plenty of new growth in the Spring, both on the tips of the branches, but also on the older, established interior stems of a mature boxwood. Fresh green growth coupled with dark lush green growth is a beautiful sight to see on a well manicured landscape. It’s a real sign that spring has sprung.