How to Shape a Boxwood Shrub


Little leaf boxwood is an ideal shrub for topiaries, which are leafy representations of a shape or object and are often included in formal gardens. Boxwoods -- which can also be planted close together in rows and trimmed into decorative serpentine hedges and knot gardens -- have historically been used for creating mazes in English gardens. The boxwood shrub benefits from its slow growth and resistance to deer browsing, and retains its glossy green leaves throughout the winter months.

Things You'll Need

  • Little leaf boxwood plant
  • Rubbing alcohol
  • Clean rag
  • Pruning loppers
  • Garden shears
  • Clean the blades of the pruning loppers and garden shears thoroughly with the rubbing alcohol and a clean rag to avoid spreading fungus and disease from plant to plant.

  • Prune the boxwood deeply during late spring to remove any dead branches. Determine the shape desired for the boxwood plant, for example a circle or square, and use the garden loppers to rough in the shape, cutting exterior branches near the leaf buds if possible. Avoid cutting too far into the interior of the shrub until the boxwood plant has been established for several years in the planting location.

  • Refine the shape of the boxwood shrub by trimming small branches with the garden shears during the summer growing season.

  • Water the shrub thoroughly after trimming and during periods of dry weather.

Tips & Warnings

  • Boxwood shrubs should be planted in an area that is protected from excessive wind and sun, which can cause discolored foliage and boxwood blight.

Related Searches


  • "The Homeowner's Complete Tree and Shrub Handbook"; Penny O'Sullivan; 2007
  • "Gardening Basics for Dummies"; Steven A Frowine; Wiley Publishing; 2007
  • Photo Credit Digital Vision/Photodisc/Getty Images
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