Boxwood Blight Disease
Boxwood blight is a fungal disease caused by the organismCylindrocladium buxicola. Boxwood Blight produces dark brown leaf spots and causes rapiddefoliation that sometimes kills young boxwoods. Boxwood blight first appearedin the1990s in the United Kingdom and is now widely distributed in Europe. Inthe United States, the disease was first found in 2011 in Connecticut, North Carolina, andVirginia and has since spread to more than 24 states. Boxwood Blightaffects all species of boxwood; however, some species and cultivars are moresusceptible than others. American boxwood and English boxwood are highlysusceptible. This disease also affects the related shrub, sweetbox, andPachysandra, a common ground cover. Boxwood and Pachysandra are commonly usedin commercial and residential plantings throughout Michigan.
Boxwood Blight Disease doesn't affect the roots, so the shrub may regrow. Plants don’t usually die of boxwood blight disease, but after repeatedly losing its leaves, it becomes so weak that it has no resistance to other diseases. Secondary infections usually attack and kill the plant.
To prevent introducing or spreading boxwood blight, MDARD recommends that nurseries, landscapers and property owners implement the following preventative actions:
- Buy boxwood plants from reputable suppliers, nurseries or garden centers, and carefully inspect them. If possible, purchase plants produced under the Boxwood Cleanliness Program.
- Buy less susceptible boxwood varieties. Refer to the list developed by North Carolina State University: Susceptibility of Commercial Boxwood Cultivars to Boxwood Blight.
- Isolate new boxwood plants from existing plantings for at least a month.
- Space plants enough for air to circulate around them.
- Avoid overhead watering and avoid working with plants when they are wet.
- Rake and remove leaf debris.
- Do not use boxwood holiday decorations near boxwood in your landscape.
- Dispose of boxwood holiday decorations by sealing in plastic bags and landfilling.
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