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In the spring I noticed that my boxwoods had some brown leaves in the center. I did see new growth in the spring but the brown leaves remain. Was this caused by the harsh winter and how can I prevent this from happening again. I have about fifty of these shrubs around my home both in the front and backyard. I look forward to hearing your suggestions. Susan

Answer

A Healthy Boxwood Hi Susan,
Browning leaves in the center of boxwood means the inside of the plant is not getting enough sunlight to produce green leaves. Proper pruning is the solution to the browning leaves. The boxwoods need to be pruned to open up the center of the plant from the outside to allow sunlight and air to circulate within the plant.

Boxwoods that are pruned with hedge trimmers or shears end up growing in very thickly on the outside producing a shrub that is brown on the inside. This type of pruning produces an environment within the shrub that is conducive to various diseases and is a place for insects to flourish because it is dark, moist and protected.

Boxwoods should be pruned and thinned by hand (with hand pruners or a knife) with the stems cut at different heights to allow for sunlight and air flow through the shrub to deter insects and disease and to have green growth on the inside of the plant.

If you need any help with pruning, please give us a call. Thank you for your question.

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About Linda Lillie

Linda K. Lillie is the President of Sprigs & Twigs, Inc, the premier landscape design and maintenance, tree care, lawn care, stonework, and carpentry service provider in southeastern Connecticut since 1997. She is a graduate of Connecticut College in Botany, a Connecticut Master Gardener and a national award winning landscape designer for her landscape design and landscape installation work.

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