Do boxwoods ...REALLY.... want to go dry before drinking?

Mike Corazzi

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My boxwood is ...okay.. but some limbs just seem to want to make leaves that soon wilt.
But, "the books" say water when dry.
??????
 

Mellow Mullet

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My boxwood is ...okay.. but some limbs just seem to want to make leaves that soon wilt.
But, "the books" say water when dry.
??????

That is because the tree doesn't know that it is a book, lol.

I have never heard that, I water mine everyday with the rest of my trees. If your soil is porous enough, you really can't over water in the summer. Boxwoods have kinda fleshy roots so I would not think that it would be good to let them completely dry out.

In any case, I think that the "water when dry" instructions should be interpreted as water when it is still moist, but not completely dry. In the heat of summer it would be better to keep the roots moist at all times.
 

Shibui

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The problem with subjective advice like this is that everyone will have a different concept of what 'dry' looks like. My guess is that you have set your own personal 'dry' a little to far to the dry side. If any of my trees are wilting between watering I increase the water. If wilting continues despite extra water or occurs before the mix gets dry you have a different problem with the roots.
Bonsai can take plenty of water if grown in a good, open, modern mix. Most root problems seem to be the result of mix with too much fine particles.
 

Mike Corazzi

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well, so far I've ignored "the books" but it's weird. I water daily and it runs through quite nicely.
the scattered leaf problems prompted me to ask.
I guess just continue. It's also turned very hot here and I have put it where it gets screened sun.
 

kevinlovett86

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Mine didn’t like going dry, water it more often than you’d water a rosemary, or even an olive is more drought tolerant
 

JoeH

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when it was pushing 100 here and no rain in site I was watering everything including my Boxwood 3 times a day. Now we get rain daily so no watering for me!!
 

Silentrunning

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I had a beautiful Boxwood that I put in the ground last year to get some trunk growth. I went to Florida for a couple of weeks this spring and N.C. had some 90+ degrees days with no rain. Unfortunately I hadn’t instructed my daughter to water the Boxwood along with my other plants. It didn’t like being dry at all. I lost about 75% of the branches and almost all the leaves. This has set it back at least 3 years. I will never again let one of my Boxwood dry out.
 

rockm

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I had a beautiful Boxwood that I put in the ground last year to get some trunk growth. I went to Florida for a couple of weeks this spring and N.C. had some 90+ degrees days with no rain. Unfortunately I hadn’t instructed my daughter to water the Boxwood along with my other plants. It didn’t like being dry at all. I lost about 75% of the branches and almost all the leaves. This has set it back at least 3 years. I will never again let one of my Boxwood dry out.
I let mine dry down considerably before I water them. There is a big difference between allowing a boxwood to get dry in a pot and keeping an eye on it than letting it go for days with no water. Boxwood like well drained soil and have very shallow root masses. That means, in landscape use, they can be vulnerable to drought. That's especially true for newly planted boxwood (and any other newly-planted tree). A top cover of mulch helps tremendously for newly-planted boxwood and trees in general. In general, ANY tree that has been in the ground less than two years is going to require watching in dry conditions and watered regularly. Once established for a decade or more, Boxwood are pretty tolerant of droughts. There are boxwood here on pre-revolutionary war historic site (including Mount Vernon, Gunston Hall--George Mason's estate) and a dozen in No. Va. (and all along Va's Piedmont down to Williamsburg) that have original, or hundred-plus year old boxwood allees. Those plants have survived more than a few extremely hot, dry summers
 

rockm

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As for letting boxwood in pots dry out--I water JUST BEFORE the soil gets dry--It's a thing you have to learn.

I also use soil that is mostly inorganic and very free draining(like 80 percent inorganic, 20 percent organic--but not fine organic particles--although boxwood like some organic content in the soil, they like well drained soil more.

As for the "just before it goes dry" thing, it's an acquired skill from observing how the soil in your containers and plants behave over time. Windy hot days, that plant is going to use a lot of water and the soil will go dry quicker. Cloudy days, not so much. Soil color is a good indicator of soil moisture content, but only one. the WEIGHT of the pot tells you more about watering than only soil color.

A simple way to get the hang of this watering thing is to water the pot thoroughly, until the water runs out of the drainage holes constantly. Allow it to stop draining and dripping. Check the color of the soil's surface--should be dark... Lift one side of the pot. Gauge the weight of that fully-watered pot. During the day, when you're able, take note of the soil's surface and its color and lift the same side of the pot. You're going to have to mentally compare the weight to the fully-watered weight as the day goes on.

This can take a while to master, but it's not all that hard. It's how I water. I've been doing it for a long time. I can tell now just from the weather when trees (boxwood and others) will need watering. I can look at the surface of the soil--if it's light colored, I know I should do a lift test. If it's relatively dark in color, the tree can wait.
 

Stormwater

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I lost all new branches/leaves this spring when I moved mine to a sunnier location.
 

rockm

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I lost all new branches/leaves this spring when I moved mine to a sunnier location.
OK? Just a thought, changing locations also changes care, including watering, requirements. Changing from shade to full all day sun is stressful. Gradual changes might be better.
 

JudyB

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Boxwood, at least my kingsville likes being in a semi shaded location in the heat of the summer. I treat it like my J. Maples, and never had an issue. It's in a super thin pot too.
 

River's Edge

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well, so far I've ignored "the books" but it's weird. I water daily and it runs through quite nicely.
the scattered leaf problems prompted me to ask.
I guess just continue. It's also turned very hot here and I have put it where it gets screened sun.
My Boxwood prefer a higher amount of Akadama and a bit of Kanuma in my inorganic mix, as well as bit deeper pots for healthier roots. If anything that retains more moisture. The leaf color is deeper green in the shade, not fond of too much direct sun. But i am working with the Kingsville Boxwood only. Not sure what type you are referring to.
 

Stormwater

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OK? Just a thought, changing locations also changes care, including watering, requirements. Changing from shade to full all day sun is stressful. Gradual changes might be better.
Ya put it back in the shade.

Multiple factors may have played a factor. Did a partial branch reduction early spring and cut 1/3 of the root ball. Moved it from shade to direct sun (9-about noon) after a month with strong new growth. Still in “fast” draining inorganic potting soil.
 

Mike Corazzi

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A simple way to get the hang of this watering thing is to water the pot thoroughly, until the water runs out of the drainage holes constantly. Allow it to stop draining and dripping. Check the color of the soil's surface--should be dark... Lift one side of the pot. Gauge the weight of that fully-watered pot. During the day, when you're able, take note of the soil's surface and its color and lift the same side of the pot. You're going to have to mentally compare the weight to the fully-watered weight as the day goes on.

This can take a while to master, but it's not all that hard. It's how I water. I've been doing it for a long time. I can tell now just from the weather when trees (boxwood and others) will need watering. I can look at the surface of the soil--if it's light colored, I know I should do a lift test. If it's relatively dark in color, the tree can wait.
Hard to tell the weight of pot as it's heavy, thick sided one.

Boxwood 2019.JPG

The soil is dark as I ...just... watered it. Also wicking up the trunk.
🐟🐟
 

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