Washington Post Article on Boxwood Blight September 5, 2012

I just received a copy of Adrian Higgins’ article in the Washington Post.   I thought it was a very well written article and offered great information on Boxwood Blight without causing panic in consumers.  Here is a link to the article if you have not seen it.  Washington Post Article on Boxwood Blight September 5, 2012.   I imagine we will all be receiving inquiries in the near future as a result.

A few things that are worth mentioning regarding the article.

  1. Positive identification is a must.  The article describes typical symptoms of the disease, however it can easily be confused with other diseases.  Only a very trained eye with a lab microscope can positively identify boxwood blight.  It has been grossly over diagnosed by many people who are not trained to identify it.  Erroneous attempts are being made to identify Boxwood Blight via photos, twigs, and verbal descriptions.   Care should be taken when someone suspects Boxwood Blight and only trained professional labs should be used to positively identify it. 
  2. As the article mentioned, overhead irrigation should be avoided if at all possible.  Avoid keeping the foliage moist for long periods of time.  Drip irrigation is best, but remember boxwood are very drought tolerant once established in the landscape.
  3. Good air movement in and around the plant lessens the likelihood and seriousness of Boxwood Blight.
  4. Planting English Boxwood (Buxus semp. Suffruticosa) and shearing them heavily is a haven for Boxwood Blight.  English Boxwood seems to be the most susceptible variety of boxwood.  Remember there are numerous other varieties available in many shapes, sizes, growth rates, and textures.
  5. Be careful pruning your boxwood or letting others prune your boxwood.  Use proper practices to keep pruning equipment and other tools clean.  Use caution when hiring outside firms to prune your boxwood or take holiday cuttings.  Make sure everyone is aware of proper management practices.
  6. People and water move Boxwood Blight.  Wind does not move Boxwood Blight.

Best of luck and if you ever have any questions please feel free to contact me.

Robert Saunders

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