Q: We have a troubled boxwood and a noticeably unmatched pair. These boxwoods have been in the ground for five years. The yellowing started over a year ago and continues to get worse. Do you have any suggestions? These bushes have irrigation and have been carefully fertilized.
A: I think it’s volutella, a common boxwood disease, but one which usually attacks after stress has weakened a plant.
That said, what can you do now?
Probably the best option is searching for a replacement of similar size (difficult) or replace both plants.
In the right spot, boxwoods can live a hundred years. In the wrong spot, they expire after just a few.
In my experience, boxwood decline starts in the root system. They are shallow-rooted plants, quick to drown if planted near a downspout, quick to dry out if un-watered under a roof overhang.
Other gardeners have commented to me that slow-release fertilizer, like cottonseed meal, Milorganite or HollyTone seems to suit boxwoods best.