Boxwood Disease Alert

Boxwood Blight

Boxwood blight is a plant disease caused by a fungus. In September 2011 boxwood blight was discovered in North America, and in 2013 the disease was detected in a landscape in Chesterfield County.

There are 3 major symptoms of the disease:

  • Elongated, dark streaks on twigs and stems
  • Large, diffuse leaf spots
  • Leaf defoliation

Disease Spreading

The primary means by which the disease spreads is the inadvertent introduction of infected boxwood to existing plantings. The pathogen can also spread by spores, which readily adhere to equipment and work clothes, and by microsclerotia, which survive in fallen leaves and plant debris.

Treating Boxwood Blight

If you suspect your boxwoods have boxwood blight, carefully bring a sample to the Extension office for analysis. To take a sample, wear disposable gloves to snip a small piece of the plant that is showing symptoms mentioned above. Place the sample in a plastic bag, then place that bag in another bag. Yes, double bag the sample. This is a very contagious disease and appropriate sanitary procedures are necessary to prevent spreading the disease in your landscape.

Boxwood Blight Taskforce

Chesterfield is partnering with other plant pathologists in VA to detect and manage this disease, and is a member of the Virginia Boxwood Blight Taskforce. For more information and pictures of the disease, please visit the Taskforce website.