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Box Blight and Box Hedge Alternatives

Box Blight and Box Hedge Alternatives

Introduction
Introduction

Introduction

Box hedging plants have been one of our top 10 most popular species for a number of years and are seen throughout thousands of gardens both in the UK and abroad. Buxus sempervirens growth rate of 10-15cm per year, along with its small scaled leaves, means it requires little maintenance and takes well to trimming and shaping, creating a formal looking hedge. It’s therefore used in countless garden designs as low hedging boarders lining pathways and bordering garden features and is often used to create wonderful topiary shapes.

We supply Buxus sempervirens hedge plants as Cell grown, Pot grown, Bare Root and Root Balls. This species is also available as ready-made, professionally maintained Instant hedges and Topiary.

Box Hedge Problems

Being as popular as it is, Box doesn’t come free from problems and like most living things, is prone to disease. Box hedging plants are susceptible to a fungal disease known as box blight. Having been recognised in the mid-1990s, Box blight has now received numerous recorded sightings throughout the UK. This infection favours humid weather and has been known to peak in the autumn months.

So what does Box blight look like?

Box blight symptoms are hard to spot as they can be similar to other environmentally stimulated problems. Once contaminated, leaves will show tints of orange and yellow which is also synonymous with signs of environmental stress and therefore makes it difficult to identify. If undetected and untreated, leaves will further brown and can fall from its branches, causing dry, bare patches.

Precautions can be carried out to assist with the prevention of Box blight or to eliminate the disease once it is present. Buxus blight spreads in humid conditions and therefore compact foliage is an ideal habitat for the infection to multiply. Simply reduce the amount of pruning as this stimulates new, bushy growth and be sure to apply water directly to the soil, rather than onto foliage. Box blight fungicide can then be administered to help revive lost foliage. Early diagnosis is best to help stop this disease; members can send a sample of their hedge to the RHS to give correct diagnosis before any drastic measures are taken.

Regardless of the possible Buxus sempervirens problems, this species remains popular as a low hedging option and rightly so. Heaps of our customers have successfully planted and maintained a Box hedge without any signs of Box blight and we’re certain that with the right anticipatory measures, you can enjoy all the benefits of an attractive Box hedge too.

Box hedge alternatives

The ultimate precautionary action against Box blight is to plant a Buxus sempervirens alternative. We are familiar with the question of what is a suitable substitute for this low maintenance hedging shrub and we have a range of species that perfectly match those criteria.

Here we have a selection of popular Box hedge alternates that display a variety of colours, textures, fragrances and features that hold additional seasonal and wildlife interest. They require little maintenance and can be trimmed to your desired shape making them the ideal Box replacement.

Box hedge alternatives - lookalikes

For a hedge which truly resembles Box consider the following species; their dense, glossy, green leaves, make them hard to distinguish from Box. With similar growth rates and planting preferences, these two alternatives to Buxus sempervirens are the most popular choices:

Japanese Holly (Ilex crenata)

Euonymous 'Jean Hugues' (Euonymous japonicus 'Jean Hugues')'

Thinking outside the Box

If you preference is for a hedge which can be trimmed neatly and has small foliage, then consider the following blight-proof Box plant alternatives:

Lonicera (Lonicera nitida)

Osmanthus burkwoodii

Yew (Taxus baccata)

Beris Evergreen (Berberis x stenophylla)

Veronica Sutherlandii (Hebe pinguifolia Sutherlandii)

Rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis)

Colourful alternatives to box hedging

Finally for similar attributes but a splash of colour we highly recommend the following alternatives to Buxus sempervirens:

Photinia Little Red Robin (Photinia x fraseri)

Veronica Red Edge (Hebe Red Edge)

Lavender - English, Dwarf, French, Hidcote, White

Berberis thunbergii atropurpurea

When deciding on garden hedging, the alternatives for Box hedges are plentiful. The species we suggest are the best for imitating the purpose of Box hedging, creating low hedging borders, topiary shapes and complementing other garden features. With these recommendations, we are certain that we can supply you with hedging plants to best suit your gardening needs.
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