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Boxwood Blight Alert

January 16, 2012 -  By

Pathogen identified in Connecticut, Virginia and North Carolina and feared to be more widespread.

Boxwood blight (Cylindrocladium buxicola) has been found in Connecticut, Virginia and North Carolina, and may be more widespread than that. The fungus kills boxwoods, which are often used as landscape hedges.

Boxwood blightAccording to ANLA, federal and state plant health officials are considering response options, such as international restrictions, domestic or interstate quarantines, and management plans.

According to the Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station, infected plants have noticeable foliar lesions and stem cankers, but early infections can be difficult to detect. Once infected, plants decline rapidly. Fungicides currently registered for use in Connecticut are not curative for Boxwood blight.

The fungus is a widespread problem in the UK, other areas of Western Europe, Russia (Georgia), and in New Zealand. It is unknown when or how the pathogen entered the US.

Researchers are focusing on molecular identification (DNA fingerprinting) of the fungus to hopefully aid in determining the source of infection and identifying a new fungicide that will control the pathogen.

“It is important to know that there are other types of boxwood fungal infections that can be controlled,” said Louis A. Magnarelli, director of the Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station via a press statement. “Proper diagnosis and disposal of infected plants are critical in preventing the further spread of C. pseudonaviculatum”.

The Connecticut Agricultural Experiment station has developed a detailed fact sheet on boxwood blight to help identify it. The fact sheet can be downloaded here.

LM Staff

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