box deer damage

Oh Deer – What’s Happened to the Box Topiary

I’m bit of a perfectionist when it comes to topiary and enjoy achieving beautiful curves and straight lines with my work. I thought I had nearly achieved this with one of the designs I clip every year. The box has always battled with blight outbreaks so it was a challenge. But with the support of the excellent on-site gardening team, who have been treating the blight and feeding the box, there was enough healthy growth to create some satisfying curves and straight lines. Sadly the local wildlife don’t seem to share my love of topiary. Every time I return to…

box blight

Managing Box Blight Outbreaks with a Fungicide

Autumn this year has been very wet and warm here in the UK. These are perfect conditions for fungal growth and outbreaks of box blight have been very common. Outbreaks can occur on the top or sides of the box and are identifiable by the browning and blackening of the foliage. These outbreaks occur almost overnight. The damage caused can be minimised if treated early so best to check box plants regularly. I spray a fungicide on to an affected area as soon as I see the first signs of a box blight outbreak. Hopefully this will slow the spread…

Red Ants Damaging Box Hedging

I have another pest to add to the growing list of threats to a box plant’s health and well-being. This one is the red ant (Myrmica rubra). At a place where I work there had been a lot of head scratching trying to discover the reason why the leaves of single box plants were starting to yellow in a healthy, established box hedge. If it was nutrient deficiency or lack of watering then you would expect to see other box plants in the hedge displaying the same symptoms. The answer was explained by small mounds of loose, fine textured soil…

Mysterious Brown Circles Appearing on Box Hedging

I wanted to share with you a problem someone was having with their box hedging that surrounds a lawn area. Brown circular patches were appearing on the grass side of the hedge and were all at roughly the same height. The owner’s Labrador was being accused of causing the damage so I was pleased to be able to exonerate the dog of all blame. The problem is a result of the hot exhaust on a lawnmower. This is not normally an issue if the gardener keeps moving along the hedge when cutting the grass. The damage is done when the…

Adult Mussel Scale on Box

Mussel Scale on Box

Mussel scale is a small insect that attaches itself to the stems of a box plant and sucks the sap. This can cause the foliage to discolour, turning yellow and orange. If the scale are left untreated the box may start to lose leaves and will have poor growth in the Spring. Have a close look at the stems of the box to see the adult mussel scales. The insect is tiny, only about 3mm long and is protected under a shell or scale that resembles the shape of the mussel mollusc. Treatment with an insecticide spray can be difficult…