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If a box tree develops dry leaves or shoots, this is not a cause for concern. The situation is different if the entire plant seems to be drying up. When is a dried up box tree really dead?

In a nutshell

  • Buchs is susceptible to care errors, diseases and pests
  • There are many possible causes for the boxwood to dry up
  • before eliminating it, it should be examined more closely
  • in the event of minor damage, he can usually be helped
  • if the inner wood is still green, it's not dead yet

Recognizing healthy box trees

You can recognize a healthy Buxus by these characteristics:

  • tolerates pruning well, sprout vigorously after pruning
  • compact, dense growth
  • evergreen, healthy looking green foliage
  • Leaves without discoloration
  • Shoot tips not withered
Healthy boxwood

Identify dried shoots and leaves

Individual dry leaves on the boxwood are usually not noticeable in the dense foliage. Only when the outer shoots or a lot of foliage is affected does the damage become obvious. In most cases, not too much time elapses between the first dried leaves and the large-scale shoot dieback on the boxwood, depending on what the causes are.

Affected leaves and shoots

  • first turn yellow, later brown,
  • feel dry and woody,
  • crumble between your fingers
  • can be easily removed from the plant or broken off.
Brown leaves on boxwood

Is my boxwood still alive?

While individual dead leaves do not cause any damage, the situation is different with dying shoots. The first signs can usually be removed with scissors, but over time larger and larger parts of the plant are affected. The boxwood turns brown and dries up over a large area. It is then no longer so easy to tell whether the book is still alive or already dead. It is helpful to look at cut shoots. If the inner wood is still green, the box is still alive. If there are no longer any green shoots on the whole plant and the wood is brown even after severe pruning, the box is dead.

examine roots

If, despite pruning, there is uncertainty about the condition of the plant, the roots can be examined. Since a dead box will be removed anyway, there's no harm in digging up the plant completely. Dead roots are either as brown and dried up as the above-ground shoots, or black and rotten.

The roots of the boxwood can provide information about its state of health.

Notice: Healthy roots are whitish to light brown and pliable but not fragile.

Boxwood dries up: causes

In addition to care errors such as a lack of nutrients or water, diseases or pests can also be the cause of withered box trees. Signs of this are discolored leaves, webs, stunted and eventually dying leaves and shoots. If countermeasures are not taken in good time, the boxwood will eventually dry out completely, so that all other measures will have no effect.

Notice: Boxwood plants can already be sick when you buy them, without you looking at them. Propagating your own plants is better.

Save boxwood

Here you will find a list of helpful measures that you can take to save your wood or as a preventive measure. For example:

  • prefer hardy varieties
  • choose a suitable location
  • water and fertilize properly
  • cut regularly
  • Control diseases and pests
  • Protect potted plants in winter
Small-leaved boxwood specimens (Buxus microphylla) prove to be somewhat more robust against diseases and pests.

frequently asked Questions

Which types of book are less sensitive?

While there are no completely resistant strains, some resist disease better than others. For example: Buxus sempervirens 'Arborescens' or 'Elegantissima' and Buxus microphylla 'Herrenhausen' or 'Faulkner'.

How can diseases or pests be combated sensibly?

First and foremost, fighting the cause helps, i.e. removing pests and cutting back diseased shoots. Fungicides and an airy, dry location help against fungi. Pests can be eliminated by beneficial insects or corresponding biological agents.

Can pruning kill the boxwood?

This is not to be expected, since the Buchs is considered to be very pruning-tolerant and always sprout again. However, if the root system is damaged, the plant can run out of strength.

Has a dried up box tree frozen to death?

Buchs is usually hardy outdoors. A sheltered location should be preferred for potted plants. Frozen shoots are cut back in spring.

What care mistakes cause lasting damage to the box?

These include a compacted substrate, wrong fertilizing and too much watering. This can cause the roots to die off.

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