Are your hedges healthy?
Hedges are usually rows of the same shrub, providing a boundary, shelter, backdrop or sculptural effect in a garden. Because the hedge is usually a single species and variety, if one plant becomes infected or infested, there is a risk of spreading the problem to the whole hedge.
Buxus (also known as boxwood or box), are evergreen shrubs commonly used for low hedging, growing in pots, and topiary. They are slow growing, produce small dense foliage, and thrive when trimmed. However, Buxus are susceptible to diseases known as Buxus or box blight and insect pests including scale.
Kiwicare has a range of plant health products dedicated to New Zealand’s popular Buxus, which also work on other hedging plants.
Buxus are gross feeders and to replenish nutrients lost through regular trimming, they need regular fertilisation. The regular trimming can also create opportunities for the plant to be more susceptible to disease.
Buxus blight is a disease that causes die-back and browning off of leaves and shoots. Stems become bare and sometimes have dark streaks. The disease is becoming common in New Zealand.
Buxus care tips
Choose healthy plants of a variety that are resistant to Buxus blight. Buxus prefer locations with part to full sun and neutral to alkaline soil; add lime to acid (low pH) soil. When planting, spacing is important to allow air to circulate through plants when they mature and prevent disease. Space the holes about 20 cm apart (for a low hedge). The taller the hedge is to be, the further apart you should space your plants. To help the plants become well established, create a root drench before planting, using Kiwicare’s Buxus Blight Buster and incorporating Buxus Feed. Water your Buxus frequently for the first year until the roots are well established. Potted Buxus will always need watering frequently, especially in warm weather. To encourage your Buxus to bush out, you should trim the tops after planting.
Regularly clear away leaf litter below your plants because this may harbor pests and disease. If you see signs of blight, treat with Kiwicare’s Plant Health Buxus Blight Buster and feed regularly with Buxus Feed to provide nutrients, including calcium for resistance to pests and disease.
For further information on hedge care visit www.kiwicare.co.nz