How to shape boxwoods is an easy and hassle-free manner if you have the right trimming and pruning tools.

The process can be a lot of fun as these boxwoods can typically grow to a height of ten feet and fifteen feet wide with a slow growth rate which makes it easy to shape them.How To Shape Boxwoods

In this article, learn how to shape these boxwood additions to beautify your garden and landscape keeping it green all through the year. You can shape them the way you want and innovatively design them to make your lawn or garden more attractive.

How To Shape Boxwoods

Shape boxwoods by trimming or shearing with electric hedge clippers or pruning shears. With a general idea of what shape you want and loads of patience, you can begin to snip away the branches. In this section, we give you simple tips and techniques to begin the process and achieve success in whichever shape you want your shrubs to be in.

The process of shaping boxwoods into square or rectangle-shaped hedges is far easier than you think. Understand the exact height and width you want it to be and using an electric tool you can achieve the desired results. Here is the step-by-step procedure of how you can go about it.

– Measure the Shrub

make sure that the shrub that you are picking is still a baby one because it would be easier to set sail with this one, as it is fresh and young, it will grow to adhere to the boxwood. Measure the Shrub

– Measure

Measure the height and width of the bush in its existing form. Now decide the exact dimensions of the bush in the shape you want. Having a clear idea of the measurements will make your job a lot easier.

– Place Stakes

Place garden stakes on each of the corners of the proposed square shape and tie a light garden twine around to outline. It should run around the bush, in the exact shape and dimensions you want, which is a square or rectangle shape. This will determine the width of the pruned bush.

To determine the length of the bush place the stakes at the front and rear of the bush and run the string over, exactly the way you did to determine the width.

Within its thick foliage, you will find fallen leaves and debris which can tend to rot, putting the shrubs at risk of developing fungal diseases. Open out the shrubs gently to allow for airflow and circulation, this is why the stakes must be placed. 

Remove the debris to keep the interior of the plant clean and this can go a long way in keeping the foliage green and healthy. The ideal time to clear up fallen debris from inside the shrub is in early spring when the light air of the season can flow to provide ventilation and freshness to the bush.

– Trimming

With the boxwood bush now enclosed in a string grid; it becomes your reference to trim it in the desired shape. You can trim the hedge outside this boundary using an electric trimmer or pruner.Trimming

It is essential to make sure that you trim the boxwood in its entirety and not just the readily visible portions as this is crucial to the overall health and beauty of the plant. Always trim entire sections, rather than working your way only on areas that are visible on the outside. 

Running your tool through all sections not only helps to keep the plant clean, tidy and disease and pest free, but it also promotes uniform growth of the foliage. It reduces the risk of massive overgrowth and also predisposes to diseases.

– Shaping

Gently snip away the foliage outside the boundary to make it come in shape. Always move the trimmer from bottom to top, trimming it away to the desired height using the strings as your guide.Shaping

In the same way, move your trimmer to get the desired width, taking care you avoid moving it in the opposite direction of growth as this could have an impact on the shrubs to produce fresh foliage.

Follow these steps and soon you should have the perfectly pruned boxwood in a square or rectangle shape.

Round-Shaped Boxwoods 

Round-shaped boxwoods are not impossible, as you must begin with picking a baby shrub, sterilizing your tools, preparing a strong reference, and adjusting the shape and the height and the measurements, after which you must begin with the pruning process.

– Pick a Baby Shrub

It is easier to start shaping the shrubs as early in their life as possible. When the shrubs are little, the effort is lesser as you wouldn’t have to wade through layers of foliage.

When you prune boxwoods early you can easily shape them into a ball before they grow irregular in shape. As the bush grows and reaches a desired measurement height and width, just snip away the extra and uneven snips.

– Sterilize Tools

Always sterilize all tools and garden equipment, before you begin the process, with a diluted solution of isopropyl alcohol. This will prevent putting the plant at risk of developing bacterial and fungal diseases. A contaminated tool is the first stage when any disease can infect plants, thus taking adequate precautions can prevent the occurrence of any. 

– Prepare a Strong Reference

Begin the process by preparing a reference using a strong cardboard sheet. Cut it out into a semi-circle shape and place it from the bottom to the top of the boxwood. Ensure the diameter of the cardboard sheet matches the dimensions of the round shape you desire the shrub to be in. So cut it out accordingly.

– Adjust the Shape

Once the cardboard sheet is placed and the shrub is within, begin cutting out all that is sticking out of the circular shape. Go all around the circle in a rotation motion, avoiding trimming in the opposite direction of growth. 

Thinning cuts are those cuts that are placed at the spot where the branches join the main trunk. Place thinning cuts on the outer circle of the foliage to enable the shrubs to receive more light and air, which otherwise gets blocked by the ticker outer foliage.

– Pruning

Once, all extra foliage has been pruned outside the circle, you will have a nice ball of boxwood. You may need to repeat the process with a second pruning when fresh new growth occurs. 

The most important step to begin with while trimming boxwoods is removing dead, decayed, or diseased sections of the foliage. Such damaged portions tend to stress out the plant, draining it of its limited energy resources. Pruning is essential not only to keep them in shape but also to promote foliage growth and to keep it disease and pest free.

Inspect each of the sections from exterior to interior and snip away all dead, damaged, discolored, and decayed stems. Tackle pest infestations as soon as you spot them as these houseplant insects can spread through the foliage in no time.

Maintaining Boxwood Shape

You can maintain your boxwood shrub’s shape in the desired form or compact it by removing the new growth that may stick out. You can remove them with the help of loppers where the growth is thick and trim them close with the help of hand pruners. Remember not to overdo it and to stick to just two feet of the foliage.

– Using The Right Tools

With their thick and dense growth, the ideal tool for shaping boxwoods is an electric trimmer. These can make your job easier as you can tackle the inner layers of the bush hassle-free. Electric hedge trimmers can slide over the foliage and bring out the perfect shape that you desire.


– When Is the Right Season To Trim Shrub?

The best time to be pruning boxwoods is in the months between spring to early summer, well before fall. It is perfectly alright if you need to do minor touch-ups later, however, avoid shaping it in the fall as then the cut branches may grow back, and also the shrubs will not heal or recover before the cold of the winter months.

Also, avoid boxwood pruning in winter as the outer circle of the foliage serves as protection for the inner growth against chilly winds and frost. Cutting it back in winter or just before winter, puts the plant at risk of exposing its core to the cold.

– How Much Can I Prune Boxwood Shrubs While Shaping Them?

When shaping boxwood it is recommended not to prune over two to three feet of the plant at a time. This is to ensure that there is fresh growth of the shrubs at all times. Thus prune carefully, especially if the bush is large and overgrown.


You have now learned how easy it is to shape boxwood and trim shrubs.

Here is a quick summary of the process that has been read and understood in this detailed guide.

  • Shape boxwood shrubs using an electric hedge trimmer or pruners in any desired shape you want. The process is easy and you can be innovative to make your lawn or garden attractive with shrubs.
  • Shaping your shrubs in a square shape requires a strong garden. Tie around garden stakes to make a boundary in the shape and dimensions you desire. With the help of an electric trimmer snip away all growth outside the boundary.
  • You can shape the shrub in a round shape in a similar fashion using a cardboard Sheet. Shape it in a semi-circular fashion with the same diameter as your desired size. Place it from bottom to top, covering the shrub and trim in a circular shape, all the growth that’s sticking out. Trim in the opposite direction of growth and you will have a nice ball of boxwood.
  • Always trim your boxwood in the spring months. Remove all dead and diseased sections and keep the interiors of the boxwood hedge debris free.
  • Start trimming and shaping your bushes early in their plant life as this will reduce your efforts and make your job at hand easier.

Having learned how to shape and trim boxwood you now can make your lawn more attractive and charming with interesting shapes. So what are you waiting for? Get started before the growth is too much to handle or the weather outside becomes way too cold.

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