Fungal Disease Devasting Boxwood - "Boxwood Blight"

Asked September 20, 2020, 7:39 PM EDT

I recently learned of "boxwood blight" while looking for a particular variety of boxwood for planting in my garden. Merrifield Gardening Center, throughout the DMV, was not selling the variety I wanted due to this disease. This is very concerning, since my little garden has many Boxwoods. Question: How can I prevent this disease from overcoming my hedges? Please send information on PREVENTION, DECTION and TREATMENT. I had intended to install more Boxwood and now am concerned about ordering any more nursery stock. Please advise regarding the best course of action. Sincerely, Vicki

Frederick County Maryland

2 Responses

Hello Vicki,

Boxwood blight resistance varies from cultivar to cultivar and environmental conditions play a role in disease spread and severity. Boxwoods that are tightly sheared and crowded among other plants (for instance, a hedge with close planting intervals) are going to be more vulnerable to infection than those with more air circulation between branches and between plants. Sanitation of cutting tools is useful, and only using landscaping companies (if applicable) who use "best practices" in preventing blight spread from client to client is prudent.

Here is more information about this disease (there will of course be overlapping of information between pages); it is relatively new in our area, so knowledge on its detection, prevention, and treatment is ever-evolving.

The general advice is this: if you have established boxwoods in a landscape, avoid planting more. Whether adding plants to a new landscape or into an existing landscape with boxwoods present, carefully choose both varieties with proven resistance and sources that screen their inventory by using trusted, "best practices" growers. Finally, practice good cultural control - using trimming techniques and planting plans that lessen a plant's vulnerability (as mentioned above, minimize crowding and avoid shearing).


Dear Miri,

Thank you for your prompt response. Very helpful. I will start reading in the links you provided.


Vicki Naas