Box hedge battles - Trentham Estate
Estate & Gardens

Box hedge battles

While autumn’s artistry unfolds in the Gardens with dazzling hues developing in the planting and in the distant trees up in King’s Wood on the wider estate, there’s one colour that the Garden Team is not happy with: the hedging in the Italian Gardens!

The Garden team have started digging out the box hedge at Trentham, read on to find out why.

The Trentham Garden Team busy at work removing a box hedge from the Italian Gardens
The Italian Gardens in autumn, Trentham Estate

Sadly, the Garden Team is going to be digging out the box hedge over winter which has been in decline over the past few years. And it’s not box blight, which is the common fungal problem that causes bare patches, but box moth and caterpillar which is causing devastating defoliation. The caterpillars, relatively new to Britain, love munching away on the leaves and are even capable of stripping bark, thus destroying the plant entirely.

Tough decision

Head Gardener, Luke Bartle has taken the tough decision to remove them because, despite best efforts of the team over the past few years, they are in rapid decline. There are no signs of the box moth caterpillar going away any time soon. Whilst the health of Trentham’s flora and fauna is the team’s upmost priority, removing the hedging will help them to manage the garden more sustainably. The upkeep of the current hedging is highly resourced in terms of labour, and the team have been losing the battle to manage the health of the hedge.

Image of the damaged box hedge in Trentham's Italian Gardens before removal
The damaged box hedge

A few years ago, the Garden Team trialled a box replacement called Euonymus. Unfortunately, the beautiful Italian Gardens, which benefit from dazzling winter frost displays, are a little too exposed to the cold resulting in the Euonymus being stressed and not performing as hoped. That’s the beauty of gardening though, some things work, some things don’t and ultimately plants are living organisms that we try our best to manage.

Time to evolve

Whether at home or nestled in 725 acres at Trentham, gardens and gardening practices will carry on evolving. Here at Trentham, the team are busy planning the next planting projects ensuring that these are suitable for now and generations to come, given the ever-changing climate. Please do stay tuned to find out more.

Trentham Balustrade Borders cleared and ready for winter planting
Balustrade Borders now ready for new winter and spring planting