2018 - VDACS Cleanliness Program Compliance Agreement

The Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (VDACS) has developed a Boxwood Blight Cleanliness Program Compliance Agreement  for production nurseries.  Saunders Brothers has officially joined VDACS and is complying with this agreement. 

In doing so, we have agreed to follow a list of Best Management Practices (BMPs) to prevent the introduction of Boxwood Blight into our nursery as well as to minimize the risk of spreading it in the event that it is discovered. 

While we continue to take steps to avoid Boxwood Blight, the Europeans who have been dealing with Boxwood Blight for 20 years tell us, it is not a matter of if you get Boxwood Blight, but when you get it and how you deal with it.  We are convinced that ongoing research will show us improved production practices, relative varietal tolerance, identification practices, and better control measures.  We have been very involved in some of this research and eagerly await the results.

With time we believe Boxwood Blight could become a managed disease, just like Phytophera, Boxwood Leafminer, and Boxwood Decline.  Certain practices will encourage the disease and certain practices will inhibit the disease. 

Some very obvious findings that are materializing in current and past research are:

  1. Buxus sempervirens ‘Suffruticosa’ may be the most susceptible variety to Boxwood Blight.  Because of this and other issues, we are discouraging large plantings of this cultivar, particularly at close spacing and hedging.
  2. Overhead irrigation spreads Boxwood Blight.  Avoid overhead irrigation when possible, but when necessary minimize the amount of time the foliage is wet.
  3. Open growing cultivars, particularly the microphyllas, may have some tolerance to Boxwood Blight.
  4. Boxwood grown in areas with good air circulation and fast drying will fare much better under heavy disease pressure.

We will continue to update you with information as we get it.

Have a great Labor Day Weekend and Fall Nursery season begins Tuesday!

Robert Saunders

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