54February 15, 2012

Every once in a while, I will receive a notice about a “new “ plant disease that has been found in Massachusetts.The information I received was from the University of Massachusetts Extension. The plant disease is called Boxwood Blight.

Back in December, plant samples identified that this disease had been found in Massachusetts. It has also been found in Connecticut. The disease was first identified in the United Kingdom in the mid 1990’s. No one seems to be sure how it made its way into New England. The disease is a light to dark brown circular spot on the leaves of the boxwood. The stems and twigs may be infected as well. The disease doesn’t necessarily kill the plant, but it will cause major loss of leaves to the point that the plant is no longer a desirable plant to have in your landscape. The disease is spread from plant to plant by rainfall or by irrigation use on the plants.

Right now it appears that there are two major varieties of boxwood that are affected by this disease. The English Boxwood (Buxus sempervirens Suffruticosa) and the Common Boxwood (Buxus Sempervirens). This disease may also infect other varieties, but it appears that these two varieties are the most susceptible to the disease. Unfortunately, these two varieties have been extensively planted in our area. I did not see any indication of this disease in plants this past fall, but it may show up this spring. At this point, I have not heard if there is any type of fungicide that can be sprayed on the plants to prevent the spread of this disease. Right now, the feeling is that you should not purchase these two varieties or transplant from unknown sources these two varieties. At this point, the other varieties of boxwood are safe to use in our landscapes.
You can get more information by going to the following web site http:// extension.umass.edu/landscape/news/boxwood-blight-found-connecticut

I don’t really know how all of this will play out for the plants that are already in our area. I will keep you updated on this as I get more information.

Well, that’s all for this week. I’ll talk to you again next week.

You may also like