Russian Boxwood - Buxus 'Russian'
Family Buxaceae – Box and Boxwood
Boxwood was imported into North America from Europe in 1650 and remains a popular ornamental.
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Russian Boxwood Foliage
Boxwood has been a popular ornamental and hedge plant in North America since the earliest Colonial times. Boxwood is a versatile landscape plant due to its variability; prostrate, globe-shaped, weeping, pyramidal and upright columnar are all available to fit nearly any need. Low-maintenance and easily grown from cuttings , boxwood appears in many of the most famous gardens of both the old and new worlds.

There are about 30 species of boxwood found throughout the world. The two species and their cultivars most often planted as ornamentals are Buxus sempervirens, or American Boxwood, and Buxus microphylla, commonly called Japanese or little-leaved boxwood [1].

American Boxwood is a wide-spreading shrub or small tree known for its very dense evergreen foliage and cold-hardiness. The most common varieties grow to 5 to 10 feet, although older strains can grow to 20 feet. Leaves are dark green above and yellow-green below, 1/2 to 1.5 inches long. Generall used for foundation, corner or screen plantings.

Japanese Boxwood is a low-growing compact shrub that grows to 3 feet. Leaves are bright green and as the name suggests, 1/4 to 1 inch long.  It is usually used in low hedges, edging, accent, or as specimen plants in rock gardens. Less popular, though still widely available, Korean boxwood (Buxus sinica) has a more open, less dense form. Very cold-hardy, Korean boxwood unfortunately turns brown during winter. 

Russian Boxwood - Buxus 'Russian'
Boxwoods do not like to get their feet wet. They should never be planted near downspouts, in low-lying areas, or anywhere the ground stays wet. Although many boxwoods will grow in full sun, they prefer at least some shade. Soil pH should be balanced between slightly acid to slightly alkaline (pH 6.5 to 7.5). Boxwoods are shallow rooted and need mulch, especially in hot, dry areas; avoid digging near established plants, as the roots are easily damaged.

Boxwoods are susceptible to winter damage, especially if autumn is rainy and the plants do not have time to harden the resulting growth before cold weather sets in. The recent trend toward more mild winters is playing hell with these plants. Their winter-dormancy is easily disrupted by spells of warm weather, especially if they are exposed to lots of sunlight. Subsequent recurrent freeze cycle can damage new growth and actually cause the bark to separate from the layers beneath. Plants can be screened from sunlight with a burlap screen or snow fence; they will also benefit from protection from wind. Be sure to remove fallen snow from plants as soon as possible, or wrap plants securely to prevent snow accumulation [1].

References:
1. Virginia State University Cooperative Extension, 'Boxwood in the Landscape'
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Family Fagaceae: Oak, Beech & Chinkapin
There are about 900 species in this family worldwide, about 65 trees and 10 shrubs of which are native to North America. Native to the northern hemisphere, the oak genus Quercus contains about 600 species, including both deciduous and evergreen species.
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