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Boxwood Shrubs

Q.Boxwood and Holly

Anonymous added on March 15, 2014 | Answered

In front of my 1940’s bungalow, I have holly bushes on one side and boxwood on another, all planted 12 years ago. These are balanced by a viburnum on one side and conical yew of some sort on the other. The boxwood has been damaged badly by the winter and I doubt it can be salvaged. New little plants of any kind will look out of proportion compared to the nicely grown holly on the other side. Can the holly be substantially pruned in early spring without problem? Is it foolish to replace the boxwood with more boxwood? I love it, but don’t want to be in the same situation again. I live in southeastern Michigan. Any ideas are appreciated. Thank you!

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Certified GKH Gardening Expert
Answered on March 15, 2014

You can prune back the holly by about 1/3 without hurting it. Any more than that per year will hurt it. As for the boxwood, you can replace it with another boxwood, but they are slow growing shrubs. It may take it some time to get to a size you would like. If you decide to replant boxwood, wrap it in burlap in the winter to help keep it from harm. You might try looking at Inkberry. It has a similar look to boxwood. It grows slowly as well, but is typically a little more cold hardy than boxwood and can take the winter better.

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