Boxwoods have always been known to need some TLC when it comes to getting them through the normal northern Illinois winter. Like our needled evergreens, boxwoods and other broadleaf evergreens are very alive all winter. Boxwoods are usually sited with northern or eastern exposures or protected in some way from winter sunlight and winds. Plant breeders have increased their winter hardiness with some cultivars, but certainly not all of them. Protecting them with burlap from the sun or creating a temporary winter windbreak are the common ways to give them what they need. Some gardeners will treat the boxwood with an anti-desiccate before the temperatures fall below freezing and again on a mild day in late winter or very early spring. Anti-desiccates seal the leaves, preventing moisture loss.
The damage this spring has been extensive on old and new plantings alike. If this was a disease, damage would be scattered, and symptoms would have been present last summer. What is happening right now is environmental, primarily the severe cold we experienced over winter. Damage is uniform and to varying degrees based on where they are planted in the home landscape. Take a walk around the neighborhood and those differences are readily seen.
If the damage is minor, only the leaves at the edge of the canopies will have the brown, burnt look. Those leaves will fall away when 2019 growth begins. In many cases, the entire boxwood is browned, and recovery is questionable. If it is just the tips and browning is minor, plants typically will recover like in the past. More damage than that and the 2019 vegetative buds would be killed. Any regrowth will have to come from well within the canopy. Stems and twigs would be the next to go and then the desiccation moves further downward towards the crown. If you take a close look, those stems and twigs will be shriveled.
There is not a problem with replanting boxwood with boxwood. There is a disease known as Boxwood Blight that has been spreading in the United States and so far, has not been detected in Illinois. If possible, buy replacements that have been grown in Illinois. Ask the retailer if the boxwoods have been certified blight-free, if not Illinois grown.
When planting, modify the backfill soil with organic matter to increase aeration and drainage. Water them well at planting time and monitor them regularly for water. It will take at least two years to establish, longer for larger boxwood. They will have a limited root system during this time, making them more susceptible to desiccation, especially in the winter.
Richard Hentschel is a Horticulture Extension Educator with University of Illinois Extension, serving DuPage, Kane and Kendall counties. Stay tuned to more garden and yard updates with This Week in the Garden videos at facebook.com/extensiondkk/videos and the "Green Side Up" podcast at go.illinois.edu/greensideup. The 2019 Kendall County Master Gardener Help Desk is open from 9 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Monday through Friday at 630-553-5823.
PHC for Trees 27-9-9
PHC for Trees 27-9-9 combines a standard fertilizer with complete micronutrient package, biofertilizer system, and a proprietary soil surfactant specifically selected to promote uniform distribution and improve solubility. PHC for Trees is less abrasive to injection equipment, requires less tank agitation, and provides both short-term and long-term continuous replenishment of mineral nutrients in the soil. Recommended for spring applications.
ProScape 21-22-4 Starter Fertilizer
with .08 Mesotrione SGN 125
A premium combination starter fertilizer and weed control product with an NPK of 21-22-4.
- .08 Mesotrione for pre-emergent control of weeds that can be used when establishing new turf
- All Mineral fertilizer with nutrients immediately available to the plant
- Potassium sulfate for immediate availability of the potassium with the added benefit of a small amount of sulfur
- Please see label for specific information on pests controlled, application rates, timing and use
Five THINGS TO DO INSTEAD OF COMPLAIN
One of the biggest threats to building a great team and organization is complaining.
When we complain we focus on everything else but being our best. Complaining actually costs the economy billions of dollars in lost productivity and it will sabotage the morale, engagement and culture of your team if you let it.
So, this week I want to encourage you to implement The No Complaining Rule. Not because it will make everyone around you happier, although it will, but because it will help you experience more joy, peace, success, positive relationships and better teamwork.
Then I want to encourage you to ask your team, company, school organization, and family to do it as well.
Try it even for just a week.
Believe me; I know a lot about complaining. I used to be a professional complainer and found that it not only sabotages your own happiness and success but the success of your team and family.
I realized we complain for two main reasons. 1. We feel powerless. 2. It's a habit. I decided to break the habit and when I stopped complaining I started to create the life that I wanted. Let's face it, if you are complaining, you're not leading.
To help you break out of a "complaining" rut here are five things you can do instead of complaining. These tips will help you realize you are not powerless. You have the power to choose your beliefs and actions. And in your focus on the positive instead of the negative you'll find the faith, strength and confidence to take on life's challenges and identify the solutions to your complaints.
- Practice Gratitude. Research shows that when we count three blessings a day, we get a measurable boost in happiness that uplifts and energizes us. It's also physiologically impossible to be stressed and thankful at the same time. Two thoughts cannot occupy our mind at the same time. If you are focusing on gratitude, you can't be negative. You can also energize and engage your coworkers by letting them know you are grateful for them and their work.
- Praise Others. Instead of complaining about what others are doing wrong, start focusing on what they are doing right. Praise them and watch as they create more success as a result. Of course, point out their mistakes so they can learn and grow, but make sure you give three times as much praise as criticism.
- Focus on Success. Start a success journal. Each night before you go to bed, write down the one great thing about your day. The one great conversation, accomplishment, or win that you are most proud of. Focus on your success, and you'll look forward to creating more success tomorrow.
- Let Go. Focus on the things that you have the power to change and let go of the things that are beyond your control. You'll be amazed that when you stop trying to control everything, it all somehow works out. Surrender is the answer.
- Pray. Scientific research shows that daily prayer reduces stress; boosts positive energy; and promotes health, vitality, and longevity. When you are faced with the urge to complain or you are feeling stressed to the max, stop, be still, plug-in to the ultimate power, and recharge.