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Why Are My Boxwoods Turning Yellow? 4 Reasons Why!

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Many homeowners love boxwoods because of how easily they grow. They are famous for their luxurious hedges that can form an entrance to your garden. However, boxwoods are not entirely foolproof.

They are some issues that could cause your boxwoods to turn yellow. Although you can easily cure some of these issues, others are pretty destructive. If you’re wondering, ‘why are my boxwoods turning yellow?’ you’re in the right place.

Although boxwoods can serve as beautiful barriers when healthy, they sometimes need help when something’s ailing them. Many things could be wrong with your boxwood, one of which is root rot.

In this article, we’ll explore the top causes of your boxwoods turning yellow and how you can remedy the issue. Without further ado, let’s dive in.

Why Are My Boxwoods Turning Yellow
Boxwoods Turning Yellow – via Reddit

Why Are My Boxwoods Turning Yellow

Yellowing is amongst the many problems that usually affect boxwoods. As a plant owner, you’re probably wondering about the reasons for this and the available solutions. Below are four reasons you should take note of.

1. Root Rot

When your boxwood’s roots are infected with the fungal pathogen, it usually results in root rot. Root rot results from fungal infection and usually causes foliage loss, poor plant growth, and bark separation.

One of its main symptoms is the green leaves turning yellow or brown. It also causes the leaves to curl upward and inward.

Like most plants, boxwoods usually have a hard time growing with damaged roots. Rotting roots cannot absorb the soil’s nutrients and sometimes result in the death of the boxwoods.

Sometimes, it can be hard to recognize when your boxwood is infected as the fungus can exist for years in your boxwood’s soil and do nothing. However, it will start to grow with the right set of conditions.

How to Treat Boxwood Root Rot

Once root rot infests your boxwood, there is no cure. The fungus might remain indefinitely in the soil without any chemical available to control it. There’s a need to act fast in such cases to prevent further damage. One of the best things to do is to replace the soil and repot your boxwood.

Get rid of the former soil and add new soil. Next, wash the rot of your soil with clean water to wash any hanging soil and give your boxwoods a chance to survive.

Cut off the far gone roots to stop the spread of the infection. Ensure you sterilize the shears used in trimming the infected root. Without doing this, the fungal spores might spread to the soil of other plants.

Minimize the watering rate for your potted plant to ensure drainage in the root region. Additionally, you should prioritize picking soil with a high drainage capability when shopping for boxwood soil. Such soil helps to reduce fungus buildup that’s responsible for root rot in your boxwood.

2. Nematodes

If you’re asking, ‘why are my boxwoods turning yellow?’ nematodes might be the answer to your question. Nematodes are tiny roundworms that are prevalent in boxwoods.

They are pretty microscopic and live off plants’ roots causing damage to the plant’s health. Nematodes can cause yellowing of your boxwood leaves and the eventual death of the plant.

Most times, nematodes can also result in severe root damage for your plant. While there are some crucial steps you can take to minimize the effect of nematodes in your boxwoods, it isn’t a guarantee that your boxwoods won’t die.

How to Minimize Nematodes Effect on Boxwoods

One of the steps you can take when nematodes affect your boxwood plants is to feed and water the plant constantly.

Regular feeding and watering will minimize the effect of nematodes, but your plant will eventually succumb to them. If your plant dies, one thing you can do is replace them with nematode-resistant American boxwoods.

Why Are My Boxwoods Turning Yellow 2
Boxwood Hedge (?) top leaves yellowing – via Reddit

3. Winter Damage

Another thing that can cause your boxwood leaves to turn yellow is winter burn, excessive ice, cold, or snow. If you live in locations with extreme temperatures during winter, it could cause your boxwood leaves to turn yellow.

Sometimes, it takes a while to notice the yellowing. There are times when the cold-nipped tissues only become evident during spring.

Preventing winter Burn in Boxwoods

You should prepare your boxwood for winter before the season comes. One way you can do this is to pick a boxwood variety with a higher cold tolerance. This variety will help to prevent winter burn in your plant. The right planting time can also help to prevent winter burn.

If you plant your boxwoods in early springs, the boxwoods will grow throughout the summer seasons and grow enough root strength to survive winter summer.

Choosing to prune your boxwoods later summer is the worst step you can take as it triggers new growth. The leaves from the new growth will not be strong enough to withstand the upcoming winter.

If your boxwoods are already infected, and you identify the symptoms of a winter burn early, you could save your plant from dying with the proper steps. One way to do this is with fertilizers, especially the granular ones. Don’t use liquid ones as they might freeze during winter.

The granular fertilizers are slow-release and ensure your boxwoods get the nutrients they need for an extended period. This type of fertilizer will increase your boxwood’s chance of survival.

4. Drought Stress

Drought stress is another factor that answers the question ‘why are my boxwoods turning yellow?’. Your boxwood plants require adequate irrigation from time to time. If this doesn’t happen, it could cause your boxwood leaves to start turning yellow and brown.

When your boxwood plants lack rainfall for extended periods, they will begin to experience drought stress. This could affect the newly planted shrubs more often than the others. The only way to prevent drought stress is to provide your plant with rainfall.

How to Prepare Against Drought Stress

You can take some steps to prepare your boxwoods against drought stress; you can find them below.

  • First, you have to choose the right soil type for your plant. An all-purpose garden soil would be a great choice because they adapt easily to external conditions.
  • Add a 3-inch mulch layer over the soil. Mulch can help to keep moisture from evaporation from the soil.
  • Next, water the boxwoods every time you notice your boxwoods are wilting.
  • Additionally, you should feed your boxwoods with the necessary nutrients. Using liquid fertilizer would be a great option.
  • Harvest rainwater and use it to water your plant when it’s available.


Boxwoods are decorative plants that explain their appeal to landscapers and homeowners. It is excellent for garden designs and will provide your home with that modern-day suburbia look. However, to keep this plant healthy, there’s a need for constant care and pruning.

Routine maintenance will make them less prone to drought stress, nematodes, root rots, and winter burn. Hopefully, this guide answers your question, ‘why are my boxwoods turning yellow?’ We also hope it provides you with all the information necessary to save your boxwood plant from dying.