How to Prune Buxus

Trimmed buxus in a formal garden. image by Ingorr/, EveMBH/


The buxus, or boxwood, shrub makes an interesting border, hedge or screen for your lawn or garden. The dark green foliage of this upright evergreen shrub creates a stunning hedge when pruned correctly. If pruned the wrong way, the slow growth habit of the buxus means living with your mistake for a long time. So, if you are pruning or shearing a row of more than 2 or 3 plants, try a few simple rules to get it right the first time.

How to Prune Buxus

Step 1

Push or bury one end of each garden stake or pole into the ground at each end of shrub line. The poles should stand taller than the shrubs and be far enough away so when you stretch the string between the poles you have room to work with pruning tools.

Step 2

Stretch a string between the poles at the desired height of the shrubs. Use a string level to verify that the string is level.

Step 3

Cut across top of the boxwoods using an electric or standard pruning shear, using the string as a guide, taking care not to entangle the string in your pruning tool.

Step 4

Cut the fronts and sides of shrubs evenly, standing back frequently to check on progress. Cut the bottom of the shrub line slightly wider than the top so sunlight can reach the bottom limbs and prevent woodiness near the bottom.

Step 5

Clean trimmed limbs and debris off shrubs by lightly raking over the newly sheared shrubs with a leaf rake.

Tips and Warnings

  • When using elecric shears don't accidently cut into the electric cord. Wear safety glasses and gardening gloves.

Things You'll Need

  • Electric or standard garden shears
  • Boxwood (buxus) shrubs
  • String
  • Stakes or Poles that will stand taller than the line of shrubs
  • String level
  • Leaf rake
  • Safety glasses
  • Gardening gloves


  • Nature Hills Gardening Community: Growing Boxwood Shrubs
  • North Carolina State University: Pruning Shrubs
Keywords: buxus, trimming buxus, boxwood, how to prune boxwood, how to prune buxus

About this Author

Based in Rockdale Texas, Jim Gober has been writing garden-related articles for 25 years. His articles appear in several Texas newspapers including The Rockdale Reporter, The Lexington Leader, The Cameron Herald and The Hearne Democrat. He is a Master Gardener and Certified Texas Nursery and Landscape Professional. He holds bachelor degrees in English Writing from St. Edward's University and Finance from Lamar University.

Photo by: Ingorr/, EveMBH/