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Boxwood Blight

Boxwood blight is a disease affecting plants in the family Buxaceae including boxwoods (Buxus), Pachysandra, and Sarcococca plants. First detected in the U.S. in 2011, it has since been found in multiple states and provinces from the East Coast to the West Coast. Boxwood blight has now been confirmed on boxwood nursery stock in New Hampshire

Boxwood blight causes rapid decline of affected plants and cannot effectively be cured with fungicides. The fungus is readily transmitted between plants mechanically—by tools, equipment, clothing, etc. It is also spread from plant to plant by wind and water, including rain, overhead irrigation, hand-watering, humidity, etc. The greatest risk of transmission of boxwood blight, and the greatest risk to boxwood health, is when an infected but asymptomatic plant is put into proximity with uninfected boxwoods, either in a nursery or in the landscape. For those with established boxwood plantings, consider quarantining any newly purchased boxwoods from your established plantings for at least 28 days to reduce risk of transmission of this disease. Please read the Boxwood blight information sheetpdf filefor more information on symptoms, life history, susceptible hosts, and suggested management of this disease.

New Hampshire nurseries, landscapers, town officials and residents responsible for boxwood plantings should learn the symptoms associated with boxwood blight. Watch for black lesions on stems, “zonate” brown spots on leaves leading to chlorosis, and leaf drop. If boxwood blight is suspected on recently purchased boxwoods, or plants in proximity to recently purchased boxwoods, please contact the Division and collect a sample for analysis by the UNH Plant Diagnostic Lab. Those working with boxwoods should pay careful attention to sanitation procedures to avoid spreading boxwood blight. Information on best management practices in the nursery, landscape, or home garden setting can be found at the Connecticut Ag Experiment Station website.
boxwood blight example
Courtesy of Kate Aitkenhead

NH Department of Agriculture, Markets and Food
Mailing: PO Box 2042, Concord NH 03302 -2042
Physical: 25 Capitol Street, Second Floor, Concord, NH 03301
(603) 271-3551 | fax: (603) 271-1109