Which is it?

Asked July 28, 2020, 3:41 PM EDT

Our arborists told us this is Japanese holly. However, it is starting the same symptoms that our box woods. Only one box left. Note the white fuzzy growth on the stem- I have NOT seen that on the box woods which bronze, dry up and die. Holly or buxus? What do you think is wrong? We have 2 of these that are 8X8 ft.

Baltimore County Maryland

1 Response

This looks like a boxwood. We notice planthoppers on the stem. They are a sucking insect but cause little damage and no control is needed. They are generally noticed because of the white waxy material produced by the nymphs https://extension.umd.edu/hgic/topics/planthoppers-flowers

The browning on the foliage may be due to several issues such as old leafminer damage (an insect), volutella (a fungal disease) , etc.
Certain cultivars of boxwood may be more susceptible to the disease.

This disease and old leafminer damage can be managed culturally by pruning out dead areas and all blighted leaves around the plant to lessen the disease load in the area, as well as, pruning to increase airflow for faster drying of leaves. No chemicals are recommended.

We recommend thinning
(instead of shearing) boxwood to improve air circulation and light penetration. Thinning is a type of pruning that removes interior stems.
Old fallen leaves and diseased leaves that have accumulated in the crotches of branches in the interior of the plant should be shaken out and removed.

Take a look on our website and the pruning video http://extension.umd.edu/hgic/volutella-blight-boxwood
See our web page on preventing and managing common pests and diseases of boxwood https://extension.umd.edu/hgic/topics/boxwood-preventing-and-managing-common-pests-and-diseases

Marian