Tuesday, 13 November 2018

Don’t hedge around the issue of box blight

LOVE it or hate it, box (Buxus sempervirens) features in many an English garden, adding structure

LOVE it or hate it, box (Buxus sempervirens) features in many an English garden, adding structure as well as all-year interest. The small-leaved foliage with dense growing habit makes it an ideal specimen for topiary.

To maintain the health of box plants in your garden, make sure they are planted at the correct depth in well-drained, rich soil. Apply a well-balanced compost mulch to the base of plants or the hedge at least every other year.

Water at the base of plants. If you have automated irrigation in your garden, make sure you use drip line, rather than mist sprayers around box.

Prune no more than twice a year: mid to late May and no later than September.

To prevent the introduction or indeed spread of box blight, ensure tools are cleaned and sterilised thoroughly prior to use, as well as cleaning again after. Clear away all cuttings from the soil and brush off cuttings from the actual plants.

The fungus responsible for causing box blight can survive for around five years in leaf litter within or on the soil beneath the plants.

A recent introduction, Topbuxus Health-Mix, can be applied one to five times a year during the growing season.

It ensures healthy growth free from fungal infection, if applied according to the manufacturer’s guidelines, in addition to good overall practice as detailed above.

I use box plants in most of my planting schemes and have done so for many years. Where blight has occurred, early treatment has cleared all affected plants and they have recovered fully.

Louise Venter is a practising garden designer and an RHS medal winner at both Chelsea and Hampton Court. For more details call 07803 583687, email louise_venter@yahoo.co.uk or visit www.louiseventergardendesign.com

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