Boxwoods on the Decline

Many people associate buxus sempervirens suffruticosa (aka the English boxwood) with Williamsburg. And in fact the colonists did bring boxwoods with them from England, so they’ve been here a long time. We’ve topiary-ed them, mazed them, grown them into huge, pillowing bushes, and framed our doorways with them. Williamsburgers love boxwoods!

Boxwood Decline

But these lovely slow-growing evergreens actually aren’t well suited to our area, and have been suffering from a host of problems, collectively know as Boxwood Decline since the 1970s. Even Colonial Williamsburg is considering ousting these shrubs for modern, more tolerant hybrids.

For one thing, our soil is dense and doesn’t offer enough sandy drainage for this shrub. Also, a nematode has taken up residence here and prefers to dine on boxwood. Yes, boxwoods will grow here, as many excellent gardeners and nearly four centuries will testify. But you have to give them just the right conditions and attention.

Colonial Williamsburg, FYI, is cycling its boxwoods out and replacing them with dwarf yaupon holly and Jim Stauffer boxwoods, which have been hybridized to be more tolerant of our local conditions. And that may include the oldest boxwoods in town, which is behind the Brush-Everard House (pictured above). These long-standing bushes were once an entire garden in themselves.

These particular boxwoods have suffered especially since Hurricane Isabelle, which felled the ironwood trees shading them. Boxwoods prefer dappled sunlight. CW officials say they’re considering a lattice-like shading structure that would allow the plants to slowly adjust to their new lighting conditions.

If you’re keeping your boxwoods, consider cutting out a small branch or two every growing season. (Call us and we’ll explain.) The idea is to allow light and air to move through the plant.

Boxwood Blight

On top of all these problems described above, there’s a new threat on the horizon. About a year ago, gardeners in 10 northern states began to see cases of Boxwood Blight caused by the fungus Cylindrocladium pseudonaviculatum. This fungus has been a problem in Europe since the 1990’s but is new to the States. Although this disease doesn’t typically kill boxwood, it does seriously affect its appearance by stripping the plant of most or even all of its leaves. Luckily, this fungus is not causing a problem in Virginia…yet. It did turn up in two nurseries in the state, but swift action by the Department of Agriculture has kept it in check. There’s no easy treatment now, so prevention is the best way to keep it out of your yard.

Hertzler & George Boxwood Care

Fortunately for our clients, Hertzler & George has a boxwood care program dedicated to this stately plant. We know how to successfully treat it for pests, the ecologically friendly way. Call us for details.757.229.9668

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Bed Transformation!

Once again I am very pleased with the excellent work H&G did on my property.  They turned a section of my ugly front yard with invasive Bermuda grass into a beautiful and simple flower bed with mulch and many small bushes.  This striking transformation adds greatly to the house’s curb appeal.  I look forward to them coming back out this fall and replacing the rest of the front yard with sod and removing all the undesirable Bermuda grass.  Brian was easy and pleasant to work and plan with.  He always responded to my questions immediately.  Jon and his crew were likewise very nice, efficient, and perfectionists in planting my new yard.  Many thanks and accolades to H&G once again!

Sandy Hall

So thankful to be a customer!

when i returned to williamsburg in 2022, it was a real challenge to find a company willing to take on “yet one more customer” – i was ignored and turned down by others… but hertzler and george came to my rescue and i could not be happier – wonderful staff, professional and so friendly, i completely trust them to service my yard!  merry christmas and happy new year to everyone and H&G!


Drainage Help

I would like to let you know how happy we are with the service we received recently.
We had a drainage issue in our yard and did some research, learned your company was highly recommended and decided to see what your company could do.
From the first contact, we had a great experience as the lady that answered the phone was very nice. She put us in contact with Brian Kemp who we also liked from the start, and we made an appt for him to come and take a look. He was right on time, very thorough, and just a very nice fella who we both liked right away and had confidence in. We really liked how he gave us options and listened to what we wanted. We scheduled the work, it was done right on time, and it looks great! Brian was even nice enough to do a video walk through for us afterwards as we weren’t in town. Just great service from start to finish! Thank you Brian

We will definitely be back with more projects in the future.

T.M. - Ford's Colony

Thank You

Just a short note to thank you for all the help you gave us with our garden this year. Jonathon again did a wonderful job doing the bed detailing this summer, as did the mulching crew in the spring. I don’t know the name of the woman who supervised the mulching crew, but I want to let you know how professional she was. In fact, the entire crew was pleasant to work with, especially to experience the care that they took with their work.

Thanks also for being so flexible with the changes we requested for our mowing schedule.

E.L. - Ford's Colony

Always Helpful

Brian came out last week to try to assess a problem we are having in our yard.  He arrived on time, was extremely courteous and took a considerable amount of time analyzing our situation.  While he was unable to reach a solution, he did take the time to research and recommend another business that might be able to help us.  That kind of customer service will make us more likely to call on Hertzler & George if other issues arise.  Thanks, Brian!