New Hampshire Department of Agriculture, Markets & Food Logo
NH Department of Agriculture, Markets, and Food
Smaller text size Reset text size Larger text size
link to website translation page

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, cannot effectively be cured with fungicides, and is readily transmitted between plants mechanically (tools, equipment, clothing, etc.), by wind, and by water (rain, overhead irrigation, hand-watering, humidity, etc.). Placing infected boxwoods in proximity to uninfected boxwoods risks transmitting boxwood blight within nurseries or the landscape. Landscapers and homeowners planting and maintaining boxwoods should be familiar with the signs and symptoms of boxwood blight and take measures to reduce the transmission of this disease to and within existing boxwood plantings.

Recommendations for landscapers and homeowners with boxwood plantings

  1. Know the signs and symptoms of boxwood flight including: black lesions on stems, “zonate” brown spots on leaves leading to chlorosis, and leaf drop. Pictures of boxwood blight can be found inthe Boxwood blight information sheetpdf filefor more information on symptoms, life history, susceptible hosts, and suggested management of this disease.
  2. If boxwood blight is suspected on recently purchased boxwoods, or plants in proximity to recently purchased boxwoods, please collect a sample for analysis by the UNH Plant Diagnostic Lab.
  3. If boxwood blight is confirmed, symptomatic plants and all adjacent, non-symptomatic boxwood and/or pachysandra within 10 feet of symptomatic plants on the property should be removed and destroyed. Removal of all boxwoods and pachysandra should be considered.
  4. Follow Best Management Practices to reduce the likelihood of introducing or spreading boxwood flight. Industry-supported Best Management Practices can be found at the Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station and the Horticultural Research Institute websites.
boxwood blight example
Courtesy of Kate Aitkenhead

NH Department of Agriculture, Markets and Food
Mailing: PO Box 2042, Concord NH 03302 -2042
Physical: 1 Granite Place South, Suite 211, Concord, NH 03301
(603) 271-3551 | fax: (603) 271-1109