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Disease Focus: Box Blight (Boxwood Blight)

26 May 2012
Disease Focus: Box Blight (Boxwood Blight)

The Box Blight also known as the Boxwood Blight is a relatively new fungus-borne disease for US boxwoods. It's been afflicting European gardens since only the late 90s and has made its way to North Carolina and Connecticut landscapes and nurseries only in October of 2011. But don't let its newcomer status fool you, this disease packs quite a bit of a nasty punch. Leaves start to spot then they quickly begin to brown and finally drop off.

The disease moves rapidly from lower branches and works its way up the canopy. The disease stands out from other boxwood diseases based on one key symptom: black cankers or black streaks which develop on the stems. The disease only attacks plants' leaves and stems. It does not afflict roots so plants can generally stay alive while infected by the disease. Still, the disease can cause plants to look unattractive by knocking out a plants' leaves and greatly reducing their ornamental value. In worst cases, usually with relatively new rooted cuttings, the disease causes death due to repeated defoliation and black stem canker infestation. To prevent infestation from spreading, dispose of infected leaves properly and use fungicide on affected plants.