From Nursery Management:
Boxwood blight, a new and lethal pathogen, has growers and landscape professionals on alert. The fungus Cylindrocladium buxicola (syn. C. pseudonaviculatum) was confirmed just a few short months ago in late October 2011 by the USDA.
In early October 2011, the Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station (CAES) received samples of boxwoods with leaf spots and blights, rapid defoliation, distinctive black stem cankers and severe dieback. It’s not clear how the fungus arrived in Connecticut, but boxwood blight is found throughout Europe. Last year’s discovery in Connecticut was the first reported outbreak in the United States. Since October 2011, the disease has been confirmed by USDA in North Carolina, Virginia, Rhode Island, Maryland, Massachusetts, Oregon, New York and Pennsylvania. As these popular landscape plants are shipped during March and April, it’s likely that boxwood blight will show up in other states.
Boxwood blight has been reported to occur on all Buxus species, but some cultivars may be more susceptible than others, said Sharon Douglas, plant pathologist at CAES. (See Table 1) English boxwood and American or common boxwood appear to be highly susceptible, but the complete host range of this pathogen is not known, she said.
This is a costly pathogen where thousands of infected plants have been destroyed across several states.
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