Sunday, November 20, 2016

Boxwood Restoration Fall Update - 36 new plants

This spring the healthy boxwood shrubs on the west side of the front lawn were air layered. A process wounding a small branch and packing moist rooting medium around it. The wound sits all summer long and in the fall the plant begins to produce roots at the wounded area. The packing material begins to feel tighter and tighter, and that is when you know the roots are forming. 
 One cool morning after a slight rain all the air layers were removed from the shrubs. If done carefully this leaves the plant looking as if it were simply pruned and thinned, but you have new plants with roots for your efforts. The hardest part is the patience it takes to wait out the new roots.
 Here are the finished air layered clippings. The Piedmont region of South Carolina had one of the driest summers we have had in decades. A few of the air layers did not survive the trauma, but many did.
 Here is a close up of the finished product. The roots are wrapped in spagnum moss, plastic, and then aluminum foil so the roots are formed in complete darkness. The bottom of the original branch is clipped off of the bottom of the root mass. The new plant is planted in plain garden top soil from the big box store.
The final boxwood plants. This year there are 36 new plants with roots that will be allowed to grow roots and fill in over the winter if it ever rains again. The reason all this trouble is taken is because we have the same plants to fill in the holes from shrubs lost through the decades, and we have no fear of boxwood blight. No new plant material will be brought onto the property so the original boxwood shrubs are completely safe.

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