Boxwood Blight?

Asked July 30, 2018, 9:01 AM EDT

I read your recent article in the Baltimore Sun on Boxwood blight. This year several of my boxwoods have turned brown and died (see photos). These were planted prior to my buying the house in 1994. We have not planted any new boxwoods (nor have my neighbors to best of my knowledge) or other trees or shrubs; any new trees or shrubs occurred “naturally.” If I read your article correctly, and this is boxwood blight, there is nothing I can do except cut out the dead/dying boxwoods and dispose of them. Is there anything I could do to prevent spreading to the remaining boxwoods? I would hate to see them go, one by one. 20180707 Boxwood in different area just turning partially brown. 20180707 Boxwood, completely brown, three up from partially brown one. 20180707 Boxwood, partially brown, some brown branches cut off.

Anne Arundel County Maryland

1 Response

Boxwood are subject to many disease and insect problems. The most serious is boxwood blight. For information on boxwood blight go to the following link on our website
There are specific symptoms that differentiate this disease from other boxwood diseases. Look for defoliation, stem cankers, etc. Have you introduced new boxwoods into your landscape or your neighbors recently. Do you have landscapers staking care of your property? If not, then you are most likely dealing with fungal issues and poor growth.

We viewed your photos. This does not look like boxwood blight. The yellowing/decline may be due to several issues such as volutella, a fungal disease or possible voles, a type of meadow mice that feeds on the roots of trees/shrubs, etc.
Dense foliage encourages fungal diseases such as volutella stem blight or canker. Usually volutella can be solved through cultural methods such as pruning and thinning. The plants should be thinned to improve good air circulation and light penetration. Shake out and remove all old leaves that remain in the branch crotches and from around the base of the plants. See our website for more information and the pruning video at the bottom of the page.
Prune out any dead wood, remove the dead shrub, and do some light pruning now. The best time to thin boxwood is December through February.
Also, Check around the base for possible vole damage, gnawing around the base of the stem, holes in soil, etc.