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     Marijke & Piet.

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Timing for box-topiary trimming


Clipping the box (buxus) topiary karikomi, o-karikomi and hako-zukuri, is probably more time critical and weather dependent, than any other clipping or pruning.

Trimming the box (buxus) topiary karikomi, o-karikomi and hako-zukuri, involves cutting back the fresh new growth. When and how often this needs to be done very much depends on where you stand in the plant development cycle. That is does it still need to grow, higher, wider etc. or has it reached the right size en doe you need to keep it in shape and perhaps further perfect the shape.

The time frame can start in late spring, to encourage the development of side shoots. These shoots can then be cut in mid summer closer to the shape you wish. Then depending on further growth development the plants can be given a final shaping and tidy up if necessary in early autumn. Be aware to not do this too late in autumn.

Extra precautions are required due to a number of reasons.

  • Although it is a very satisfying activity we do not necessarily want to do this too often. There is a large very well-defined surface that needs to be clipped hence we try to limit this to an absolute minimum. If it can be limited to 2 times or even 1 time per year then that is our aim.
  • These topiary all stand on tsukiyama groundcovers and on or close to the ginshanada or other gravel area.
    We do not want the leafs to fall on the ground because removal and tidy-up is very cumbersome and labor intensive. That is why we cover the surrounding with plastic bags or sheetings.
  • The tiny and light leafs get easily blown in the wind by the slightest breeze. If there is too much wind then they will get scattered through the garden even before they can hit the sheets or bags.
  • Even when it is too breezy then the leafs will get blown off the sheets or the bags and sheets themselves will get blown around with the same undesirable result. And yes sometimes I lay “weights” on the sheets to prevent the latter. Point is that this involves extra effort and that the leafs will still be blown away and end-up beside the covers. Very annoying.
  • If the plants are too wet, for instance as a result of dew, mist or rain or even due to sprinkling the evening before, than clipping will be very hard to do.
  • Depending on the estimated time required to finish a single object the weather forecast must allow sufficient time to finish a job dry, that is without rain including the tidy-up.
  • Preferably the weather forecast should not be too hot and dry. This can cause the clipped leafs to dry out and get brown edges or even brown leafs.

Related: Main garden karikomi and hako-zukuri objects, Shrubs, Training, clipping and pruning, Fukinaoshi, “to re-do” overgrown trees.