The boxwood is an uncomplicated cut and topiary that is popular in many gardens. Sometimes, however, the pretty ball or the old hedge needs to be moved to another location. Especially if the plant has been in place for many years, it is firmly established there and can no longer be easily moved. In order for the project to succeed, you need patience and good preparation.

Successful transplanting takes preparation

Of course, you can simply dig out your boxwood and bury it again at the planned new location. However, neither you nor the Buchs will likely be happy with it: boxus roots do not grow particularly deep into the earth, but they spread very widely. If you cut off this network of roots, you destroy the numerous fine roots that are indispensable for the water and nutrient supply. The result is that the plant is no longer adequately supplied, the leaves turn yellow in the further course and the shrub finally dies.

This scenario can be prevented by digging an approx. 60 centimeter deep trench around the box a few months before the planned repositioning and filling it with compost. In doing so, you cut off many roots and force the plant to develop a more compact and closer to the plant root ball. During the subsequent transplanting, you damage significantly less roots, so that the box grows more easily in the new location.

Tip: Tree nurseries follow a very similar scheme, moving their trees every two to three years. The shorter a plant stays in its place, the easier it is to move. After all, the roots couldn’t spread too far yet.

Moving boxwood – a practical short guide

Even if the transplanting of a box tree – especially a hedge or a specimen that has been established in its location for many years – together takes a few months, it is basically not rocket science. On the contrary, with these step-by-step instructions, the book will soon feel at home in its new place in the garden.

1st point in time

Before you get down to business, it is a good idea to think about when to start with. If possible, do not move the boxwood in the middle of the vegetation period when it already has an increased need for water and nutrients. This can hardly be covered due to the inevitable loss of roots. Therefore, it is better to choose spring.

  • The months of March to April are best
  • the early autumn
  • both have specific advantages
  • move in September, the soil is still warm and the weather is mild
  • however, the shrub is already prepared for winter
  • correspondingly lower demand for water and nutrients
  • In a spring planting it grows faster and more easily
  • Growth hormones start to work

2. Preparation

In order to prepare for the early transplanting, dig a trench around the box tree about four to six months beforehand – if possible in early autumn. This should be about 60 centimeters deep and twice as wide in diameter as the height of the box. Fill the narrow trench with mature compost and water the shrub abundantly over the next few weeks. Avoid waterlogging, however, as this leads to root rot.

3. Choice of location

Careful selection of a suitable location is also part of the preparation. Only if the box tree feels comfortable in its new place in the garden will it grow and flourish there. A sunny to partially shaded, but not too hot place in the garden with humus, well-drained, fresh and possibly loamy soil is ideal. If the garden soil is too sandy, improve it with plenty of compost.

4. Transplanting

Now you can finally start transplanting. Choose a day with mild but dry weather and overcast skies, because box trees should not be moved or cut in bright sunshine or rain. Sun and heat often lead to drought stress and sunburn, which gives the plant yellow to brown leaves. Rain, in turn, favors infection with the dreaded pathogen that causes boxwood shoot death, the fungus Cylindrocladium buxicola. Repositioning in frost is also taboo, as this prevents ingrowth into the soil and also leads to frost damage.

How to replant – step by step:

  • Dig the trench again
  • Place the spade at an angle
  • cut off any roots
  • Loosen the root ball with a digging fork
  • Lift out the book
  • Gently shake off the earth
  • Place the root ball in a bucket with lukewarm water
  • Dig a planting hole at the new location
  • optimal size: twice as wide and deep as the root ball
  • Enrich the excavation with compost
  • Lay drainage in heavy soils (e.g. through pipes)
  • Insert the box, fill in the excavation
  • Do not squeeze roots
  • Carefully press the earth down
  • Water the boxwood vigorously

To compensate for the loss of roots, you should then cut back the relocated boxwood by about a third.

5. Subsequent maintenance

In the following weeks, make sure that there is an adequate supply of water, whereby the mulching with compost and lawn clippings keeps the moisture in the soil and also supplies the beech with nutrients. Only after about three weeks should the watering be slowly reduced.

Tip: If the leaves of the boxwood suddenly turn yellow after transplanting, only a vigorous pruning and the subsequent supply with a slow-acting, preferably organic fertilizer will help.

Transplanting a boxwood requires some preparation. So it is advisable to deal with the topic a few months before changing location. The best time to do this is in March or April and in early autumn. It should be a mild and dry day. Please also note the subsequent care with sufficient watering and nutrient supply, should nothing stand in the way of the transplanting project.

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