Boxwood Blight – Definition & Detailed Explanation – Tree Diseases and Pests Glossary

What is Boxwood Blight?

Boxwood Blight, also known as box blight, is a fungal disease that affects boxwood plants. The disease is caused by the fungus Calonectria pseudonaviculata (syn. Cylindrocladium buxicola) and can lead to severe damage and even death of infected plants. Boxwood Blight was first identified in the United Kingdom in the mid-1990s and has since spread to other parts of Europe and North America.

What are the symptoms of Boxwood Blight?

The symptoms of Boxwood Blight typically include dark brown or black lesions on the leaves, stems, and branches of infected plants. These lesions may have a fuzzy or velvety appearance due to the presence of fungal spores. As the disease progresses, the leaves may turn yellow or brown and eventually fall off the plant. In severe cases, the entire plant may become defoliated and die.

How is Boxwood Blight spread?

Boxwood Blight is primarily spread through the movement of infected plant material. The fungus can be present in the soil, on pruning tools, or on the surfaces of pots and containers. It can also be spread by wind, rain, or insects that come into contact with infected plants. Once a plant is infected, the fungus can produce spores that are easily dispersed and can infect nearby plants.

How can Boxwood Blight be prevented?

Preventing Boxwood Blight involves a combination of cultural practices and chemical treatments. To reduce the risk of infection, it is important to avoid planting boxwood plants in areas where the disease is known to be present. Additionally, it is recommended to space plants apart to improve air circulation and reduce humidity, which can promote fungal growth. Regularly inspecting plants for symptoms of the disease and promptly removing and disposing of infected plant material can also help prevent the spread of Boxwood Blight.

How is Boxwood Blight treated?

There is currently no cure for Boxwood Blight, so prevention is key to managing the disease. However, if a plant is infected, there are some steps that can be taken to help reduce the spread of the fungus. Infected plants should be pruned to remove affected branches and leaves, and all plant debris should be carefully disposed of to prevent the spread of spores. Fungicides can also be used to help control the disease, but they are most effective when used as a preventative measure rather than as a treatment for existing infections.

What are the implications of Boxwood Blight on trees and plants?

Boxwood Blight can have significant implications for trees and plants, particularly in landscapes where boxwood plants are commonly used. Infected plants can experience reduced growth, defoliation, and even death, which can have a negative impact on the aesthetic value of a landscape. In severe cases, the disease can spread rapidly and affect multiple plants, leading to widespread damage and the need for costly removal and replacement of infected plants. Additionally, the presence of Boxwood Blight can create challenges for nurseries and landscapers who rely on boxwood plants for their business. Overall, Boxwood Blight poses a serious threat to the health and vitality of boxwood plants and the landscapes in which they are grown.